dorset chiapas solidarity

Communiqués 2

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Communiqués and other words issued by the EZLN since 1/7/2015

For earlier words, please go to:

https://dorsetchiapassolidarity.wordpress.com/communiques/

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EZLN: The First Of Many

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Mexico

March, 2017

To the Sixth all over the world:

Compas:

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We had told you we wanted to find a way to support you so that you in turn could support the resistance and rebellion of those who are persecuted and separated by walls. Well, we have some small progress to report in that regard.

The first ton of Zapatista coffee is ready for the campaign “In the Face of Capital’s Walls: Resistance, Rebellion, Solidarity, and the Support of those Below and to the Left.”

The coffee is 100% Zapatista. It was cultivated in Zapatista lands by Zapatista hands; harvested by Zapatistas, dried under the Zapatista sun; ground in Zapatista machines; paused when the Zapatista machine was broken by Zapatistas and later repaired by Zapatistas (with a non-Zapatista ball bearing); then packaged by Zapatistas, labelled by Zapatistas, and transported by Zapatistas.

This first ton was collected through participation from all 5 caracoles, with their Juntas de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Councils], their MAREZ [Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion], and their community collectives, and is now at the CIDECI-UniTierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, rebellious Mexico.

This Zapatistas coffee is even more delicious if you drink it in the struggle. We’re including here below a short video that the Tercios Compas [Zapatista media] made where you can see the whole process, from the coffee field to the warehouse.

We are also categorizing and packaging the art works made by Zapatistas for the last CompArte, which we will also send to you to support your activities.

We hope we can give these things to you during the April event so that you can transport them to the different corners of the world where the Sixth exists, that is, where there is resistance and rebellion.

We hope that with this first bit of support you can begin or continue your work in support of all those who are persecuted and discriminated against throughout the world.

Perhaps you are asking yourselves how you’re going to get this stuff to your corners of the earth. Well, via the same method it was produced—through organization.

That is, we are asking you not only to organize yourselves on this matter, but also and above all to carry out activities in support of all those people who are today pursued and persecuted simply because of the colour of their skin, their culture, their faith, their origin, their history, their life.

And that’s not all: remember that we must resist, we must rebel, we must struggle, we must organize.

Oh, and we asked how to say this message we wanted to communicate, in a way it will be understood:

Fuck Trump!

(and while we’re at it, all the rest of them too—that is, the Peña Nietos, the Macris, the Temers, the Rajoys, the Putins, the Merkels, the Mays, the Le Pens, the Berlusconis, the Jinpings, the Netanyahus, the al-Ásads, and go ahead and add whatever name they give that wall that will have to be knocked down, and knocked down in such a way that all the walls get the message).

(In other words, this is the first of many tons to come and the first of multiple curses to be made.)

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, March of 2017

Here is the video by the Tercios Compas that accompanies the communique. The soundtrack is “Somos sur,” lyrics and music by Ana Tijoux, accompanied by Shadia Mansour.

La Primera de Varias. Cafe Zapatista

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/03/16/la-primera-de-varias/

 

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Denunciation From The National Indigenous Congress

 

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March 9, 2017

To the national and international Sixth

To the free media

To civil society in general

Compañeros, compañeras, as our peoples continue to organize ourselves, each in our own ways and forms, analyzing and making agreements in order to form a Concejo Indígena de Gobierno [Indigenous Council of Government], the war against our peoples doesn’t stop. The three levels of bad government continue to act against our mother earth, our peoples, and our autonomous organizations through plunder and repression.

In the state of Oaxaca

We denounce and condemn with outrage the events in the community of San Francisco del Mar in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, Oaxaca, where violent actions were carried out, including the use of firearms, in order to try to impose approval of wind power projects that would dispossess the community of a good part of their common use lands and seriously affect the rich and delicate ecosystem there.

These events unfolded during the assembly of the comisariado de bienes comunales [communal resources or the commons] of San Francisco del Mar which was convoked to discuss authorization of the use of over 15,000 hectares for shrimping projects in Pueblo Viejo in the zone known as bocabarra. Various speakers expressed their opposition to the authorization, giving evidence that its true purpose was for wind power projects. They explained that bocabarra is a vital area for thousands of fishermen, that approval of the project would remove their source of livelihood, and that such an important decision required the participation and decision of the whole population.

Bocabarra is part of the Isthmus lagoon system and a vitally important area for its role as a key fishing zone and for its sacred and spiritual sites. In this part of the region, fishing provides the most important source of economic livelihood and food for the population. It is also a highly coveted zone for wind power companies because of its powerful winds, and there has already been an attempt by Mareña Renovables to construct a wind power plant in the Barra of Santa Teresa which provoked large mobilizations in opposition from the surrounding communities.

It is necessary to add that what happened in San Francisco del Mar is not an isolated event but rather a comprehensive plan of plunder and dispossession to be applied to the territories of the communities of the Isthmus in order to allow the imposition of megaprojects in the region via the Special Economic Zone of the Tehuantepec Isthmus [ZEE by its Spanish acronym] which undergirds this second phase of wind power development.

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In the state of Michoacán

On February 24, in the community of Calzonzin, the bad government of the state of Michoacán in complicity with the federal government savagely repressed the P’urhépecha people of Caltzontzin who were protesting in defense of their right to restitution of communal territory.

That day the repressive forces of the Mexican State laid siege to the community of Caltzontzin, not allowing anyone to enter or exit, and then proceeded to launch tear gas bombs from a helicopter over the community and invaded community territory to arbitrarily arrest 17 community members, of which 13 are still being held and one of which is mentally disabled. At the same time, they entered various homes in the community without search warrants, destroying what they found and violating human rights in their mission to defend the privileges of the transnational railroad company Kansas City Southern.

We demand the immediate release of the political prisoners of the originary peoples of Michoacán, in particular the 13 community members detained in Caltzontzin whose only crime is the defense of communal property, of dignity, and of life for their communities and for future generations.

On the coast, the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula is under attack by criminal organizations which have penetrated the territory to the southeast of the municipality of Aquila and, through death and looting, attempt to dismantle the community’s autonomous organization and community security in order to bring back to the area terror and the extraction and exploitation of natural resources and communal lands.

On February 5 of this year, five community police from San Pedro Naranjestil, to the south of the municipality of Aquila affiliated with the municipal police, were kidnapped by members of the Marines who later turned them over to the organized crime groups led by Jesús Cruz Virrueta (alias Chuy Playas), Fernando Cruz Mendoza (alias El Tena), José María Cruz (alias el Tunco), Federico González Medina (alias Lico) and Mario Álvarez López (alias El Chacal). This act has been followed by actions impeding operations by the self defense groups of the Aquila, Chinicuila, and Coahuayana municipalities to detain members of organized crime.

To the former we must add the frequent instances in which the armed forces of the bad government have acted in coordination with criminal gangs against the indigenous community of Santa María Ostula, which has contributed to the collective grief and the demand for justice for the 34 community members who were murdered and the 5 who are disappeared.

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In the state of Querétaro

The bad government is unjustly holding prisoner the indigenous Ñhañhú compañero Raymundo Pascual García, of San Ildefonso, Amealco, Querétaro, who was detained along with other compañeros for participating with his community in the protests against the gas hikes. We also denounce the continued plunder of the lands of the Fundo Legal of the Galeras and La Peñuela communities in the municipality of Colón though the corrupt actions of the bad governments and political parties.

As a consequence, the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress declare that:

1. We hold the municipal president and the commissioner of the bienes comunales of San Francisco del Mar responsible for the violent acts in Ikoot territory and the attempt at land dispossession. We denounce the complicity between well known state and federal authorities and politicians and we demand clarification of the events and punishment of those responsible for the shots fired during the assembly. We demand respect for the legitimate right of the people of San Francisco del Mar to determine the destiny of their lands and natural resources.

2. We demand that the autonomy and communitarian organization of Santa María Ostula be respected. We demand the arrest of Jesús Cruz Virrueta (alias Chuy Playas), Fernando Cruz Mendoza (alias El Tena), José María Cruz (alias el Tunco), Federico González Medina (alias Lico), and Mario Álvarez López (alias El Chacal), the dismantling of the political and economic structure that sustains them, the punishment of the soldiers and politicians responsible for the murder of the child Hidelberto Reyes Garcia and all of the murdered community members, the cancellation of arrest warrants for the [community police] commanders in Ostula and the Sierra Costa region, the return of the disappeared, and absolute respect for the communal territory of Ostula.

3. We demand immediate and absolute freedom for the compañero Raymundo Pascual García from San Ildefonso, Amealco, Querétaro, who was detained for protesting with his community against the gas hikes imposed by the bad government, a halt to land dispossession in the communities of Galeras and La Peñuela in the municipality of Colón, Querétaro, and punishment of those responsible for the unjust imprisonment of over 3 years of the Ñhañhu indigenous compañeras of Amealco, Querétaro, Jacinta Francisco Marcial, Alberta Alcántara Juan and Teresa González.

We say to our brothers and sisters of the Ikoot, P´urhépecha, Nahua and Ñhañu peoples in these regions and the rest of the country who everyday sustain our hope, rebellion, and dignity with their struggle: you are not alone. In the colors, tongues, and geographies that make up the CNI, we are you; your yearning for justice is ours, your pain is ours, and your demand, which brings into bloom the birth of another world, is our heart and our unwavering certainty.

Until dignity becomes tradition

Freedom for all of the political prisoners

Return of the disappeared

Justice for San Francisco del Mar

Justice for Calzonzin

Justice for Santa María Ostula

Justice for the Ñhañu people of Querétaro

Attentively,

For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

March 2017

National Indigenous Congress

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EZLN: What’s Next II. The Urgent And The Important

 

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January 3, 2017

I’ve been listening to you. Sometimes when I’m here with you all, sometimes via the CIDECI stream, sometimes via what your Zapatista students mention to me.

I always try to get a grasp on the meaning of your presentations, the path and direction of your words. We have heard brilliant presentations, some didactic, some complex, the majority polemical, but on and about things that can be debated. And we think you should do so, among yourselves. For that discussion, perhaps it would help you to first clarify the confusion that exists between science and technology.

With regard to the rest, we are as surprised as you are. This interest [of the Zapatista students] in science is not something we ordered or imposed, but rather something that was born from inside [of the Zapatista communities].

Twenty-three years ago, when feminism came to demand that we order women’s liberation, we told them that wasn’t something that can be ordered, because it belongs to the compañeras. Freedom is not ordered, it is conquered. Two decades later, what the compañeras have achieved would put to shame those who at that time claimed to be the vanguard of feminism.

It’s the same now. Science is not imposed. It is the product of a process of the peoples, exactly as Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained.

I’ve told you that we thought the majority of your presentations were good, but there were some, just a few, that, well I don’t know what to tell you.

One of them said admiring things about me; I listened with attention and waited for the moment when he would say: “everything I have just said is a fraud, I presented it to you so you would see what pseudo-science is and so that you don’t trust the principal of authority; just because someone has a formal education doesn’t mean that what they say is scientific.” But no, that moment never came.

I scrutinized his face to see if he was smiling maliciously, but no. He was sincerely convinced of the barbarities he was presenting, and appreciatively received the applause of his buddies in the crowd and others he had managed to sweet-talk.

When a compañera insurgenta heard that thing about not needing to make babies, that it’s better to adopt because there are a lot 15941338_1341911112495607_3922665712756661550_nof people on the planet already, she said to me: “so that’s how they get rid of people, the Hydra isn’t even necessary, that idea is sufficient. That’s the idea of rich people; even if there are only one or two of them, they are the ones who are in the way and of no use. That idea that was presented tells us there is no need to struggle to make another world, we just need to take contraceptives.”

 

I’m going to tell you what someone once told me about the time when the world was like an apple, waiting for the bite of original sin.

This man was explaining to me how he made a living. He used the “Boa Constrictor” method, as he called it. He had a helper, and together they would put vaseline into small jars and make labels that read “Balm for Absolutely Everything.” The small print told you that this balm could cure everything from Alzheimers to a broken heart, including along the way polio, typhoid fever, hair loss, evil eye, toothache, foot odour, bad breath, and some other ailments that I don’t remember.

This is what this person would do: stand on a corner and begin to rail against zoos and circuses, that oh the poor little animals, locked up like that. And he would announce: “That is why we are going to show you a boa constrictor, 7 meters long, that we found in the sewer and rescued and now take care of, and right here and now we are going to show it to you, madam, sir, young man, young lady, child, the public in general.”

People would gather around curiously, mostly because the boa constrictor was nowhere in sight, just an old suitcase full of small jars of a balm called “Absolutely Everything.

When he decided there were enough people around, he would turn to his helper and say loudly, “Secretary! Brrrrrinnnnnngg me the boa!” The accomplice would nod and run off to who knows where.

The man would watch his helper move into the distance. Picking at random, he would comment to someone close: “It seems like a lie, but just a few weeks ago that boy couldn’t move, not even with a cane, only in a wheelchair. And just look at him now. It seems like a miracle, but no, that’s not it. What happened was, luckily, I found the scientific formula for a medicine that cured him. Here, I’ll show you.”

Of course, the “innocent” comment that was supposedly aimed at one person was said in such a way for several to hear. The man would then go to the suitcase and take out a jar and tell the first person to whom he had directed the comment: “Look, this is what I was telling you about.” The person would take the jar and read the label while the man would pretend indifference, rearranging the little jars and looking in the direction the assistant had gone and commenting as if to himself, “why is that boy taking so long? I hope the boa constrictor hasn’t escaped on him, because if it has, we’ll see it in the news tomorrow, poor animal, they might cage it or turn it into bags and shoes.”

In the meantime, the innocent person who received the jar would be showing it to the person beside them, commenting on what had happened to the boy who went to get the boa. In a few minutes the jar had been passed through some 10 people, and the man would say then: “Okay now, give the medicine back to the madam, the gentlemen, the young man, young woman,” accordingly, and then to that person would add, “you keep it, as a gift, try it, you’ll see.

Others would then come up asking for their free sample too and the man, apologetically, would explain: “No, I’m sorry, I can’t give them to everyone, it’s a special order from the Secretary of Health. But, not that I think about it, it’s better for you all to have a chance to try it instead of those government scoundrels. Just give me 10 pesos each so I can replace the government order.”

It was enough that 5 or so people would come up for others to join in, and soon he would have around him a decent number of people. The people would comment among themselves what the balm was all about and the man, pretending indifference, would merely charge for each jar while lamenting the delay of his “secretary” and and the cursed boa.

In a matter of minutes, the helper would come back all agitated and worried and whisper something to the man. The man would answer “My god, really? Are you sure?” Then he would quickly pick up the now empty or almost empty suitcase and, addressing the people gathered there, proclaim: “Run! The boa escaped and the police and patrols are on their way.” He and the helper would take off with alarm and as the word of warning spread the people would scatter also.

I asked him how much the cursed medicine cost. He told me he pulled the little jars out of the trash and the vaseline, well that came out to about a peso per jar. So this method earned him some 100 pesos a day, at a time when the minimum wage was 8 pesos a day.

Anyway, I just wanted to say to those who tried to apply that method in this gathering that even if you have an academic degree, we’re not buying your little jars. You’ll have to look for another corner from which to hock your quack commodities.

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Perhaps somebody out there still has the image in mind of the ignorant and naive indigenous, and thought they could tell us they were going to talk about one thing knowing full well that they were going to talk about something else that had nothing to do with science. Hell, it doesn’t even manage to be pseudoscience. I’ve read better developed, more original, and equally false things on social media.

Let me tell you: if you complain that the science departments in academia don’t take seriously what is pure existential nonsense, well, here we don’t either.

If in academia they don’t take your political activism in account, well we don’t either. But I can tell you where they do: on the institutional left. There, yes, you can go and say: I’m a doctorate in who knows what and I’ve participated in this many marches, rallies, and classes, and indeed they will give you some leadership position in something, anything, as advisors or coordinators.

Here, if you came because you know mathematics, then we want to hear you talk about mathematics, even if you don’t know what surplus value or class struggle is, even if you don’t know if “The International” is a song of struggle, an opera, or the name of a corner store. As Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés already told you, science is science, whether you are a partidista [associated with a political party] or a Zapatista.

It’s also not worth your time to come here and fawn over or court us, although I think that does work in academic institutions.

Neither are we interested in being manipulated around skin colour, sexual preference, or religious belief. You either know what you’re talking about or you don’t; it doesn’t matter if you are dark-skinned, white, red, yellow, black, or mixed; it doesn’t matter if you are a man, woman, homosexual, gay, trans, or whatever; it doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, Mohammedan, or whatever; if you’re going to do science, then you do science, not religion, philosophy, or the quackery currently trending on social media.

So here we don’t discriminate. Here differences aren’t a demerit, but they aren’t a merit either. With respect to the personal sufferings or dramas you may have, fine, we understand. But you should understand that we are a very poor audience from which to expect pity. With everything you have suffered and continue to suffer, it could not compare with what it has been, and is, to be what we are.

But I understand what’s going on with you, everyone gets off with what they can. However, it doesn’t seem honest to us to come here and lie, saying you came to talk about science and not your existential lashings.

But the compañeros and compañeras are noble and understanding. We invited you to talk to us and we have honoured that; we have listened with respect, which isn’t the same as saying that we have swallowed all your tall tales. We honoured the agreement. Those people did not.

Imagine that this is an assembly in one of the Zapatista communities, and you go up to present one of your projects. You have said you are going talk about biology, medicine, laboratory work, clinical analysis, agroecology, engineering, or pharmaceuticals, and the assembly says, yes, go ahead, these things are urgent. Or you are coming to talk about physics, chemistry, math, volcanology, astronomy, and other sciences, and the assembly says yes, go ahead, these things are important.

But if someone comes who says they are going to tell us that science needs to do postmodern philosophy and take the existential variables of each person into account, well, the assembly is going to listen to you, but they aren’t going to tell you to go ahead. They are going to propose that you infiltrate Skynet and convince Artificial Intelligence to accept your scientific proposal. I’m sure that it would collapse in no time, which would relieve the duality suffered by John Connor, and humanity as a whole would be liberated from the Terminator sequels.

Of course, I recommend that you truly study and realize that you are closer to Aristotle and Ptolemy than to Copernicus, Galileo, and Kepler.

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The Apocalypse According to Defensa Zapatista

The mountains of the Mexican Southeast. Territory in resistance and rebellion. There is an autonomous school. A classroom. There, the education promotora is talking to the Zapatista girls and boys:

Before we leave I’m going to tell you a story. You have to think about it and respond to the question I ask at the end.”

On one of the benches at the back, a little girl stops drawing complicated diagrams in her notebook which, although they appear to be flowcharts, are really diagrams of soccer tactics. At the margin of the lines and arrows one can read “when we fill up the team.” At the little girl’s feet there is a ball, frayed and full of lumps, and on her laps sleeps a kind of cat…or a dog… or something.

It’s not just the little girl, but the whole class that’s hanging on the words of the promotora, who says:

There is a voice that tells us what it sees. It says to realize that the world is going to end once and for all, and that we can see that there are only two men left. The two are standing face to face; they aren’t talking to each other, but you can tell they are very angry. They are the only men left, everyone else has died already. They are the last men on Earth. These two men don’t talk to each other or look at each other, but they are arguing angrily. And they aren’t talking to or looking at each other because they are sending each other messages on their phones. That is, as they say, they are fighting as if their cellphones were weapons, the only ones left because the world is ending. They are scolding each other harshly, as only the two of them can see. One is saying to the other, that is, he is sending him a text message:

It is all your fault because with science you created destruction.” (send)

The other looks at the message on his phone, gets angry and answers:

No, it is your fault because instead of science, you starting saying we should do what the ancient primitives did and not use technologies.” (send)

The first really gets mad now and you can see in his eyes that it’s like he wants to burn up the screen of his phone. He writes:

No, it’s your fault because with your science and technology you created the weapons that killed off everything, including the poor little animals.” (send)

The other looks at the message and you can see in his eyes he’s thinking “you’ll see, you bastard,” and he responds:

No, it’s your fault because you said that we shouldn’t learn science because science is bad because it doesn’t respect Mother Earth and does her harm.” (send)

The other looks with hate at the screen and types out:

No, it’s your fault because you think you know so much with your science and you don’t take the people’s needs into account and you go around with a big head thinking nobody can match you and all that shit you talk.” (send)

The first reads and gets so furious you wouldn’t believe it. He looks at the other and in his eye you can see “you’re going to die, bastard.” So he writes:

No, it’s your fault because you criticized science out of pure laziness, you don’t want to study or learn because it’s clear that you’re just slothful and trifling.” (send)

The two men go on like this for awhile, fighting angrily over their cellphones. They don’t know it, but this is the last day; as soon as night falls, everything is over. But because they were fighting and looking at their cell phones, they didn’t realize when the sun hid itself in the mountains and the land fell dark.”

The education promotora who has used everything she learned in her education preparation courses in order to tell the story, concludes:

Okay, so this is the story the voice has narrated. So, the question you must answer is: “Which of the men survived the end of the world?

The children stay quiet, thinking.

In the first row of the classroom sits Pedrito. He says it’s so that he can pay close attention, but we all know it’s because he’s totally in love with the promotora, but we’re not going to publish that because it’s his secret.

Pedrito raises his hand, asking to be called on.

The promotora is about to say, “Let’s see, Pedrito, what do you think,” when from the back of the classroom a little girl’s voice says:

Well that’s easy.”

Everyone, including the promotora, turns to look at the little girl who has stood up and already has her bag over her shoulder with her notebook and pen inside. In her little hands she holds the frayed ball, while the Cat-dog stretches at her feet. The teacher says resignedly:

Okay Defensa Zapatista, tell us what you think.”

The little girl is already moving toward the door of the classroom as she announces:

The answer is easy, because it’s clear that it’s the fucking men’s fault that the world is ending because they’re so terrible with that patriarchality of theirs which is just impossible to believe in anymore. And they didn’t study the fucking Hydra which has been consuming and screwing over the whole planet earth. So there they are, all macho, fighting with their cell phones and their songs about horses and love and then about lost love, I mean why can’t they just decide already.

Anyway, teacher, so that you understand as the women that we are, I’m going to explain the word “patriarchality” which is like where the men rule and they want us women to just be waiting on them hand and foot, and then later they tell us how much they love us and how we have very pretty eyes, as if they were looking at our eyes, no, they’re looking at something else. I don’t know what it is that they’re really looking at because I’m not grown up yet, but that’s what my moms told me the fucking men do. When I grow up, they better not even think about it, I’m going to give them their slaps upside the head and a few kicks if they look at me wrong. So, the “patriarchality means that the fucking men just want us to make them their pozol and then are always pestering us for a kiss. Do you think we’re just going to give them a kiss, just like that? Oh no, I don’t think so, maybe instead of a kiss a knock on the head. And then they think they’re going to convince us with their songs about horses. They’re just so dumb, let’s see if they can find a horse to make them their pozol, what are they going to come up with then, never ever…”

The teacher knows the little girl very well already, so she interrupts:

Okay, Defensa Zapatista, answer the question.”

The little girl is already at the door. As the Cat-dog wags its tail happily at her feet, she responds:

Look, it’s easy. Neither of the two men live; they both die because they were stupid. Clearly it’s the fault of the patriarchality that the world is going to end, but it doesn’t, because it turns out there is someone who lives which is the compañera who is telling the story. Because if it’s not a compañera who tells the story then there’s no story. And the compañera who tells the story carries her little baby on her back in her shawl and is giving what you might call political lessons to the baby, so that the baby learns that we have to support each other as the women that we are.”

The little girl didn’t wait to see what the education promotora would say, and accepting as a given that her answer was correct, ran out of the classroom yelling “Let’s play!” as the Cat-dog and the rest of the class followed her out the door.

The education promotora smiles as she puts away her notebooks and books, one of which reads across the cover, “Twentieth Anniversary Anthology. National Indigenous Congress. Never Again a Mexico Without Us.” Ready to leave, the teacher notices that not all the children have left.

On the front bench sits Pedrito, looking all sad and defeated. The promotora goes over and sits down beside him asking,

What’s wrong Pedrito, why are you sad?”

Pedrito sighs and answers, “Because I didn’t get to answer the question because Defensa Zapatista spoke first.”

Ah,” the teachers says, “don’t worry Pedrito, what was your answer?”

Pedrito explains with a tone of the obvious:

Well I was going to answer that the story doesn’t hold up, because if there are only two men left, arguing over their cell phones, then who is working so that there’s a cell signal? This means that there are others who continue working, that is, that there can’t just be two left. So you see what I’m saying teacher, your story lacks logic, coherence in the argument. So the answer is that the very premise is faulty and for that reason, the conclusion, whatever that may be, is false. This would have been understood if critical thinking was applied to the analysis.” (trust me, that’s how Pedrito talks, if you get to meet him some day you’ll see I’m not making things up).

Pedrito, after finishing talking, returns to his posture of sorrow and sadness.

The education promotora is thinking about what the words “coherence” and “premise” mean, and that this is always the case with Pedrito, that he uses words that challenge even the Comandancia. The promotora isn’t embarrassed to ask Pedrito what those words mean, but she sees that Pedrito is sad so she hugs him and says:

Don’t worry Pedrito, your answer is good, too.”

Pedrito, upon being hugged, turns all shades of red and puts on his “no one has ever hugged me before” face, just like the deceased SupMarcos taught him. Letting himself be loved on, Pedrito thinks that it turned out well after all that Defensa Zapatista answered first, because this was why the promotora was hugging him and from within the embrace, Pedrito understands that no, the world is not going to end, that as long as the embrace lasts the world will keep giving opportunity to life, because that is what life is, an embrace.

Pedrito is reflecting on this when the little girl appears in the doorway and says to him, “Hurry up Pedrito, we have to fill up the team so we can bring a challenge.”

Pedrito separates himself from the embrace of the promotora as if tearing his heart out, but he goes over to the little girl because he is, in addition to a little boy, a Zapatista, and a Zapatista can’t allow the team to be let down on their account. Before leaving the room Pedrito says to the little girl: “But I’m telling you straight-up right now that I’m not playing goalie anymore, put the one-eyed horse on goalie, I want to play forward.”

Defensa Zapatista is not going to let a boy have the last word in this story, so she says:

Forward? Puh-leeze. SupGaleano showed me some videos and now I have a new plan. Now we are going to play according to the science of ‘total soccer’ like those Dutch orange ones. Don’t you know you have to study for that? You do. Both things, science and art. Later I’ll explain it to you. Just as soon as we fill up the team you’ll see, don’t worry, there will be more of us, it might take awhile, but there will be more.”

The little boy and the little girl leave. It is only then that we can see that the little girl has on an orange t-shirt that hangs nearly to her heels and taped on the back are crooked letters that spell “Cruyff”i and below them: “Resistance and Rebellion.”

Off to the side of the pasture waits a motley crew including: a old horse leisurely chewing on a empty tobacco bag; a short man with gray hair shivering despite his coat; and a tall, thin man who stands out for his height and the strange hat he is wearing. He is using his magnifying glass to study with great interest a small strange animal that, at a distance seems to be a dog… or a cat.. or a cat-dog.

Nearby, where the community has been working to deepen the scratches in the wall, anonymous hands have written, below and to the left, a graffiti that is bursting in colour. It reads:

We are the National Indigenous Congress and we are going for everything, and it will be for everyone.”

In a bunker far away, alarms are going off and the earth is trembling. Above, brother John Berger, smiling, has drawn a question in the clouds, for whoever looks high: “Y tú qué?”

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The Urgent and the Important

The story I’m going to tell you is a little bit sad.

It’s sad because it includes the tears of a little Zapatista girl. But despite this, or precisely because of it, I’m going to tell the story because after hearing you speak, present, reflect, and try to respond and teach, I’ve been thinking about what’s next. I don’t know if you all have thought about it. If not, I recommend that you do—think about what’s next.

I’ve imagined that we’re in another time, further ahead. Here goes:

This time, without being announced by a soccer ball rolling in, “Defensa Zapatista” has arrived at my hut. It’s clear that she’s been crying, and a few tears still glow on her cheeks. “Defensa Zapatista” maintains that little girls don’t cry, that that’s for men, and that women are stronger. So I understood why the little girl had come to my hut, where there are only ghosts and silences. Here she is safe, here she can cry without anyone, except me, seeing her. Here she can put her strength away in a box and let feelings fill her gaze and sorrow become liquid.

I didn’t say anything. I acted like I didn’t see her and that I was busy sweeping tobacco and crumpled up papers off the floor around the table.
Finally, she wiped her tears with a red handkerchief, sighed, and cleared her throat in order to ask me:

Hey Sup, do you know what it’s like to have a bad dream?”
“I sure do,” I responded, “bad dreams are called nightmares [pesadillas].”

She looked intrigued and asked, “And what’s the purpose of those quesadillas, why do they exist and who made them? Because they’re beastly.”

They’re called “pesadillas,” not “quesadillas.” Quesadillas are good because they have cheese. Pesadillas aren’t good. But why do you ask?”

I had a really bad dream and I woke up with something like a stomach ache, like something wasn’t okay, something was hurting,” she said.

Tell me about it,” I encouraged her and lit my pipe.

“Well, I dreamed we were in the community assembly and as it turns out the situation is really rough because of the bad system. And a lot of people are coming here and asking to stay in the community because other places have become unliveable, and so the people come here because we Zapatistas did in fact prepare.

But the people are coming from other countries, as far away as goodness knows where.

So there isn’t enough food and the community has to make the land produce more, because as Zapatistas we have to support other peoples of the world because we’re, as they say, compañerismos. So in the assembly they’re looking at how to organize to be able to give food to those brothers and sisters.

So then someone in the assembly says that we have to find more terrain where we can plant.

And then someone else says what about in the pasture where we play soccer, the Petumax flowers are already blooming, like white, but not, sort of gray but not, I think cream-colored or whatever you call that colournn.

And they say the saw the Chene’k Caribe flower too, which is true because I play with those flowers and pretend they’re little baby chicks.

And that they also saw the “Sun” flower which seems like a sunflower, but isn’t.

So then that compañero said that means that the soil is good in the pasture, that we can plant corn and beans there. And then I got, as they say, worried because there in the pasture is where the one-eyed horse lives and where we play soccer. Well, we don’t exactly play because we haven’t completed the team yet, but we practice and we train really hard.

So then the authority asks the assembly if there’s agreement that we’ll plant in the pasture and make a milpa [corn field] there, and if there’s anyone who disagrees they should say their piece so we can figure out what to do.

So then the whole assembly is silent and nobody asks to speak. And I want to talk to say that we shouldn’t plant in the pasture because then we won’t be able to play, or train that is. But I don’t know how I’m going to say it, because I can see that we do need food to support those other sisters and brothers.

And I’m really upset because nobody says anything and I don’t have the thinking to convince the assembly, and I can see in the authority’s eye that they’re about to say that if nobody has any other comments, that they’ll approve the proposal to plant in the pasture.

And there I am, looking for a good thought and I can’t find one, and I get mad that I can’t find the right words and with the anger the tears come out, and it’s not that I’m crying, it’s just the anger of not knowing what to say.

And right there I woke up and I came running. And on the way I got even madder because of that stinking bad dream, and who sent it or why they’re doing that.”

As she’s been talking, “Defensa Zapatista’s” face is reproducing her pain and desperation.

I remained quiet, but the little girl kept looking at me as if waiting for what I was going to say.

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Even though I realized that “Defensa Zapatista” hadn’t come to sit on the [psychiatrist’s] divan, nor just to vent, I was looking for the right words. I understood that the girl hadn’t come just to hide, she was also looking for answers, and me, well I’m the Subcomandante of stainless steel, the one who, according to “Defensa Zapatista’s” criteria, has the grave defect of being a man. But nobody’s perfect, and besides, I let the Cat-Dog climb up on the keyboard and ruin the texts, and sometimes I have cookies to share (which, for Defensa Zapatista means that she and her little animal gobble up all the ones I like and the ones I don’t, too, and they just leave me the empty package), and I tell stories where she and her gang get into mischief and come out triumphant.

So I’m presenting with you all with the, as they say, context, so you understand that the girl had not really come to tell me a bad dream, but rather to present me with a problem.

When I had been looking through the trunk of memories that the deceased SupMarcos left in my custody, I remembered having seen something that could be useful. I gestured to “Zapatista Defense” that she should wait and I started looking. Under some drawings that John Berger made when he was in Cideci, I found what I was looking for. The papers were shabby, stained with tobacco and humidity, but the clumsy handwriting of the deceased was still legible.

I picked my pipe back up and lit it. I read almost in silence, only making a few gestures and emitting incomprehensible grunts. The girl watched me in suspense, waiting. The Cat-Dog had left the computer mouse in peace and, its ears perked, remained expectant.

After acting all important for a few minutes, I told her:

There it is, there’s no problem. I’ve found the solution to your nightmare. It turns out that in this writing by the deceased SupMarcos (may baby Jesus keep him in holy glory and may the dear Virgen fill him with blessings) explains that nightmares are problems and that they can be alleviated if you resolve the problem of the nightmare.

Then he says that dreams are the solution to nightmares.

That what you have to do is find the solution and then the good dream comes out.

That way you save a ton of money on psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and antacids. Okay, that’s not related.

And in this other writing, he says that the problem isn’t just knowing what’s urgent and what’s important.

What’s urgent is what you have to do right now, and what’s important is, for example, what you know you must do.

For example, in the case of the bad dream you’re telling me about, what’s urgent is that the compas have to increase food production; and what’s important is not to lose the space where you play.

In which case it’s a big problem, because if you protect the place to play, well, then they won’t plant there and there will be hunger; and if they plant there, well then there won’t be any more place to play.”

Defensa Zapatista” nodded, convinced of what I was saying to her. I continued:

So the deceased says here that that’s called ‘exclusive options,’ which is to say that you do one thing or the other, but you can’t do both. SupMarcos says that this is almost always false, which is to say that it’s not necessarily one or the other, but rather that something different can be imagined. And he gives the example of the originary peoples, which is to say the indigenous.

He says: ‘For example, the originary peoples, going back centuries, have always done two things at the same time: what’s urgent and what’s necessary. What’s urgent is to survive, which is to say to not die, and what’s important is to live. And they resolve this with resistance and rebellion, which is to say that they resist dying and at the same time they create, with their rebellion, another way of living.’ So he says that whenever possible, it’s necessary to think about creating something else.”

I put down the papers and I turned to “Zapatista Defense”:

So I believe what you can do with the problem of your bad dream is explain to the assembly what’s urgent and what’s important.

Which is to say that both parts have good thought behind them, but if you pick one, well, you’ve screwed the other.

So explain to the assembly that it doesn’t necessarily have to be one thing or the other, but rather that it’s necessary to think of something else, something different but so that both objectives are met.

And then it’s not that the assembly’s problem is getting resolved nor that your problem is getting resolved, but rather that it’s a different problem altogether.

And it’s the new problem that you both have to think about, that is, you and the assembly.”

The whole time the girl had been sitting quietly with her chin in her little hand, paying attention.

Contrary to his usual habits, the Cat-Dog had also been still.

Zapatista Defence” stayed silent, looking fixedly at the floor.

I don’t know much about what happens in the head of a little girl. Of a boy, sure, perhaps because I haven’t matured despite the many kilometres I’ve covered. But girls, whatever their age, continue to be a mystery that perhaps science will one day be able to solve.

Suddenly, “Zapatista Defence” turned to look at the Cat-Dog, and he in turn looked at her.

The mutual glance lasted only a few seconds, and the Cat-Dog began to jump, bark and meow. The girl’s little face lit up and she practically shouted: “Yes, the Cat-Dog!” and she began to jump and dance together with the animal.

I didn’t just put on my confused face, in fact I didn’t understand what all this was about. But, resigned, I waited for ““Zapatista Defence” and the Cat-Dog to calm down, which didn’t happen for several more minutes that seemed eternal to me. Finally the commotion died down and, still excited, the girl explained:

It’s the Cat-Dog, Sup! I have to bring the Cat-Dog to my bad dream and I have to bring him to the assembly and he’s going to help me and so then it’ll be a good dream.

The solution to the problem was right here but I hadn’t studied it.

It’s the Cat-Dog, it’s always been the Cat-Dog.”

I think that my “What?!” face must have been very obvious, because “Defensa Zapatista” felt obliged to clarify:

Look I’ll explain it to you Sup: the Cat-Dog, is he a cat? No. Is he a dog? Not that either. So then he’s neither one thing nor the other, but rather something else, he’s a Cat-Dog. If I show the Cat-Dog to the assembly, obviously they’re going to see that we have to do something else, so both sides can happily be in mutual agreement.”

I couldn’t understand how the assembly was going to make the, as they say, “epistemological leap” from that thing, that is to say the Cat-Dog, to the disjuncture between the pasture for playing soccer or the pasture for planting. But it seems that “Defensa Zapatista” wasn’t worried about that.

The next day, on the way to town, I passed by the pasture. Night was already beginning to fall and the sound of those who were scratching at the wall continued. There was still enough light, because “Zapatista Defence” was on the field, together with a group in which I recognized the old one-eyed horse that accompanies her sometimes, the Cat-Dog, and Pedrito. There were also two men, one short and one tall, whom I didn’t recognize and I assumed that they were from the Sixth and that the girl was trying to incorporate them into her perpetually incomplete team.

The girl saw me from afar and greeted me with an energetic wave of her hand. I returned the greeting, realizing that “Zapatista Defence” had resolved the problem because she laughed and ran from one side to the other, showing the group where they should position themselves in some sort of formation that looked to me to have the shape of a snail.

I continued on my path, remembering the ending to that day of tears, when “Defensa Zapatista,” then smiling and with her face lit-up, said goodbye: “I’m leaving now Sup, I’ve got to go.”

And what are you going to do?” I asked her.

She was already gaining distance when she shouted: “I’m going to dream.”

While I waited for the compañeros and compañeras to whom I had to give a talk, the night arrived with its own steps and sounds.

I thought then that perhaps the deceased SupMarcos would have liked to have been present for “Defensa Zapatista’s” dream to know how she made her argument and what the decision of the assembly was. Or perhaps he was in fact there. Because, at least in these lands, the dead walk around. They laugh and cry with us, they struggle with us, they live with us.

Thank you very much.

From the CIDCI-Unitierra, San Cristobal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017.

iHendrik Johannes “Johan” Cruyff, a Dutch professional soccer player and coach famous for promoting the philosophy known as “Total Football.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johan_Cruyff

 

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/02/02/que-sigue-ii-lo-urgente-y-lo-importante/

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EZLN: What Comes Next I: Then And Now

 

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Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

January 3, 2017

Good evening everyone. We just want to say that this is going to take a while, so now is the moment to leave or take a nap.

So first of all, just like the compañera said who spoke here about Viejo Antonio [Old Antonio], the name says it all, Viejo Antonio.i His time is over. There are some things we might be able to recover from that moment, but now times have changed.

We Zapatistas want to tell you that truly, seriously, we want to learn what real science is. Not the kind that Viejo Antonio employed, which was useful in its time, a time now past. Now it’s different because life now is different. We want to talk to you about what it’s like for the compañeras and compañeros who are here as a commission of delegates, what they’ve confronted through their struggle in resistance, and the fact that even though they’d like to live the way their fathers and mothers did, it doesn’t work for them anymore.

For example, in the Lacandón Jungle when they plant their corn, they know that in three months the kernels should grow, but now the kernels come in earlier. In the highlands, near Oventik, the Caracol Oventik, it used to be that in six months there would be kernels, and now it happens in five. This makes it difficult because before they knew when to plant. They knew when to start, using the old method like Viejo Antonio did, but now that has changed. How did it change, and who changed it? That’s where all this interest comes from. And just like with everything else, we’re not making things up, as Sup Galeano has said these past few days. Because Viejo Antonio did in fact know when the cold would come, when to go get firewood, charcoal, how to be prepared, but this method doesn’t work anymore.

That’s why we started to wonder who could explain this to us, and we’d heard people say that there are scientists, and we wondered what kind of work they do. Could they assist us? Because they say these people study in order to be able to explain, to be able to understand, and then to be able to explain to others if something can be done and what can be done.

Our compañeros and compañeras need these kinds of things, because it turns out that in their 23 years of autonomous governance, many needs have arisen, needs that can no longer be addressed the way Viejo Antonio used to. He was resisting and surviving, but that way doesn’t work anymore. The compañeros and compañeras are constructing something else, and they’re putting it into practice. When they engage in these practices, that’s when they start to discover what’s missing.

For example, so that you understand what I’m saying, among the compañeras who are Zapatista bases of support entered the struggle 33 years ago, none of them dreamed that their daughter or son would learn how to operate an ultrasound. Now it turns out that their daughter operates one, because many compañeras do. It’s mostly compañeras because they’re the ones who want to see how the baby is doing while it’s growing, that’s why it’s mostly compañeras who do this.

I’m going to tell you about a need and a lack we have encountered, because it was a lack as well as an error, a failure, which we recognize as such. Because the compañeras, compañero, well they’re recovering the good parts of the culture and leaving behind the bad parts.

So there are [health] promotores, as well as midwives, both men and women, in the communities. In one community a compa went to the midwife and the midwife checked the compañera and told her: it seems you’re going to have twins, compañera. And the compa was happy about the twins, but he knew that in the clinic, in the Autonomous Hospital, there’s an ultrasound, and the compa wanted to be sure that they were really going to have twins. So they went to the hospital and had the photograph taken, I’m not sure what you call it. But first the compa says to the compañera who knows how to operate the ultrasound, “the midwife told me it looks like it is twins, so I want to check using the machine to see if it’s true, no?” And so they check and take the photo or whatever it’s called and the compañera tells him, “Yes, it’s twins.” So then the compa is even happier.

So then when it was time for the twins to be born, they went to the government hospital because there was trouble with the birth because the compañera was having a lot of pain. So as an emergency they went to a government hospital in Guadalupe Tepeyac, and they attended to her there and gave her a caesarean. So the compa goes to see his two twins, right? And it turns out there’s just one. So the compañero says, “No, I know that they were twins,” and starts to argue with the hospital director. “No, I know that they’re twins. You’re trying to steal one from me.”

The director says, “No sir, no Zapatista, there’s only one. Let’s not argue here, let’s go to your wife because she saw everything.” So the director and the compa go to the wife and the compa says, “Why are you letting the hospital directors steal one of our babies?” And the compañera says, “No, there really was only one.”

“But how? If the compañera who did the ultrasound told us it was definitely twins and the midwife also told us it was definitely twins?”

So there they are with the compañera saying that there was definitely only one and the compa is saying it has to be two because that’s what the midwife and the health promotora said and the people from the hospital are saying it’s definitely only one.

So then they have to bring in the compañera who did the ultrasound in the Zapatista hospital clinic. The compañera arrives, so there are four different people there now: the compa, the compañera who had the caesarean, the compañera who did the ultrasound, and the directors of the hospital. And they start talking there, and the attending doctor starts explaining that it depends on how the image is taken for the ultrasound, and the compañera who did the work of the ultrasound says, “yes, we did in fact take it from the side.” So then the doctor says, “That’s what happened, because of the reflection it seemed like there were two, because the image wasn’t taken the way it should have been.” Then the compa, the father of the baby, starts to understand that there was a mistake, an error in the way the work was done by the Zapatista health promotora.

So that’s where we learn that we can’t say, this is fucking capitalism’s fault, because this wasn’t about capitalism; we were lacking science. That’s why a failure isn’t just about saying they don’t know, or the people from the hospital robbed us because it’s run by the bad government. We can’t say these things. We recognize that we were lacking something, that we were lacking something as Zapatistas. It’s not that we’re autonomous and that therefore we can’t fail. We failed at science.

So there are a lot of other things like that, and Viejo Antonio didn’t have the opportunity to learn them because his time has passed. But thanks to Viejo Antonio who had a form of resistance and rebellion, [our people] were able to survive at that time.

So for example, the person speaking to you, whose name is Moisés—this Moisés has changed three times. Because if the Moisés in his community was still in his community he wouldn’t be here talking with you, right? And what would this Moisés be like if he was still in his community? Who knows. Not even Moisés himself knows.

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Okay. But then that Moisés that was, is no longer. Then Moisés entered into the clandestine organization, so that Moisés changed again. He was no longer the same Moisés in clandestinity that he had been in his community. Then Moisés went out, learned, and we’re not going to repeat everything here, but he learned the science that we applied in 94. And now after 23 years, the Moisés who was in clandestinity is not the same Moisés who has been in the public light for 23 years because of what he and his compañeros and compañeras did. Right?

So the Moisés of right now, today, January 3, 2017—this Moisés now sees other things. This Moisés sees many things, not what he saw before during the 10 years of clandestinity; things have changed. But we have to study this change scientifically, with science, for the good of the people, in order to love life even more.

So what are we going to do when we realize, with science and scientifically, that something’s not right? What good is it just to say that something’s wrong and then just leave it at that?

So that’s what’s happening to our compañeros and compañeras: they run into these needs, they need this [knowledge] not for the good of a few, but for thousands, or perhaps the millions of us in this country called Mexico. And perhaps this could take wing and fly off to another world, no?

Because today, 23 years later, there are many things the compañeros are putting into practice, and they run into these needs. They need theory and they need practice. We indigenous people do things in practice. That is, it is through practice that we are convinced of something. And when that happens, then we do not tire when we hear the theory. But if it’s all blah, blah, blah, well we get sleepy. But if it’s through practice, then yes, we become focused because we’re seeing how things move and how they work. If we like what we see and think that something will solve many of our needs, then our eyes become sharper than an eagle’s.

So when we engage in practice and see that yes, something does in fact solve our needs, then we begin to ask: if I do it like this could it turn out like that? And if I do it like this what will happen? Could it be that someone could teach us even more? Could they tell us even more about how to do it? Then in that case we need theory, because we were encouraged by what we saw, because we saw that it solved our needs or problems when we saw it in practice.

There is the problem that sometimes it’s really hard for us to present the theory, but we can do it in practice. Perhaps it’s possible to see if there’s an image or something to help understand how things are in practice. Take for example this instance I’m about to tell you about, which our compañeros and compañeras have basically obligated me to keep in my head.

These men and women have their autonomous government, and they’re struggling and struggling for it to be half and half. If there are 40 members of the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council], it should be 20 women and 20 men, and if there are 20 members of the Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion, it should be 10 women and 10 men, and so on.

So they do their work according to what they’ve understood of the 7 Principles of Leading by Obeying. They make the word Democracy their own, which means that the people lead and the government obeys. Men and women discuss their own laws, they develop education in the way they think boys and girls should learn, and what the education promotores should learn, according to what their communities need.

So in what some might call primary school, and other Caracoles might call first level, but in any case the compañeros, compañeras, the fathers, the mothers, say: what we want is for our children to learn to read well, to know how to write papacito and mamacita. And they’ve seen how the young people have learned a shitload like that. It’s the same in the area of health too; there are many areas of work like that. There is the work with medicinal plants which continues, and the compas have detected various needs there, because they want to know, they say for example: when the plant is green, or the husk or the root, what substance does it contain? What about when it dries, does it preserve or lose that substance? But that’s where we realize we have our limits, because for that we need science to do a study in a laboratory, and many other things like that.

They have their community radios, and sometimes certain pieces of the machines burn out, so they want to know how to fix that. The other communities want to listen to what is being produced and transmitted, so they want to make the signal reach them, but the signal doesn’t reach. So the radio broadcasters ask, might there be a way to invent something so [the signal] is stronger, so it reaches further?

But their fathers and mothers had never dreamed of this. Moisés in clandestinity had never thought of it. Things changed, and now it turns out that these young men and women—because we’re working with the compañeros—they tell us that this thing or that thing is lacking, and so now Moisés can no longer say… because it’s easy to order people around, to say enough, shut up, go back to work, go check on your cornfield, go… no? But we understand there are needs. So that’s why I’m saying that Moisés isn’t the same as he was in clandestinity, not after 23 years with the communities, with their autonomous government.

Well, for more than a year now we’ve been talking about the capitalist hydra, the monster, along with our compañeros and compañeras in the communities. And this is truly what we’re seeing, it’s like it reared its head when we mentioned it. So the compañeros and compañeras in the communities say that the way we’ll resist is that we must have food and we must have medicine, we need these things to be able to confront this. So that’s where they begin to think seriously about how to make this happen with land that doesn’t produce anymore, no matter how much we work and work and work it, it doesn’t produce anymore. So they’ve heard people talk about boron, magnesium, sulphur, molyb…molybdenum, or something like that, or zinc, or the pH…but they only know that people say that these are things that can help the earth. But how can we know, even if I grab a piece of earth, how can I know what it needs?

So, the compañeros ask: who are the people who study this? Who are the people that say this? This need starts emerging from various places, the desire to learn, to study the earth without harming it.

So, among many other things that they do, the compañeros are identifying needs, seeking [answers]. Before all this, before these needs began to develop more, there were other compañeros who were seeing other needs emerge around how to construct autonomy. For example, a group of compañeros saw that a lot of gasoline was being wasted to generate electricity in the Caracol. So they began to wonder, why does the gasoline make the motor turn and then produce electricity, energy? They said, that just means there has to be a way to turn the motor. So why don’t we adapt, find a different way to start the motor? Like in the case of the water mill, where they grind the sugar cane. It has a water canal and wheels and containers where the water flows into, and that makes the mill turn. So we should look for a way to adapt the motor, or the generator. And they did it, but it was very slow, and they couldn’t get past that point because they didn’t know how to multiply the force… I’m not even sure how you say it. So, where are the people who know the science of how to do this? Because then we wouldn’t need petroleum to be able to make gas, or oil, but rather we could make use of nature itself for this. Well, at least for one part, because the pieces of the motor are metal and plastic and all those things.

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So the compañeros and compañeras really want to learn new things, whenever they can find someone to teach them. But…it’s not like it was before for the young men and women, like in the days of Viejo Antonio. They’re not going to just let things be if their question isn’t answered. They won’t be satisfied if they don’t get the right answer to their question, and worse so if you try to tell them otherwise.

For example, at the end of the Little School in 2013-2014, we had an Assembly to evaluate it. There it came out that one of the students had been saying how great it is that we’re indigenous, that we should never lose our indigenous identity, and therefore… but then that we’re no longer truly indigenous because we wear shoes, that we should stop wearing shoes. We have to touch [the earth] with our skin, with the soles of our feet, that’s how we’ll keep being indigenous. And in the Assembly people were saying that person who said that, we should call him in the rainy season, when there’s lots of mud and sometimes your feet sink 50 or 80 centimeters, and you don’t realize there’s glass or sharp rocks underneath. Let’s see him walk there then. Then they said, and we work in the brush, we’re going to ask him to please take his clothes off and work there naked, let’s see what he thinks then.

I’m telling you this because they don’t let buy this anymore; when these young people are able to understand that what’s being said isn’t going to resolve their needs, they simply say: let’s see, you do it first and then we’ll see.

So this all means—and it has to do with you, brothers, compañeroscompañeras, sisters—as has been said here, as you’re seeing, if you see and understand that things are really rough, well then there’s much work to be done. First, what is it that needs to be done, among you who study science, scientific matters, what needs to be done? And furthermore, the compañeros and compañeras have questions, and they need you to answer them, and answer them scientifically, right? Then there’s also the fact that they want to learn, they want practice. That’s another thing, because that’s the only way the compañeros and compañeras will feel that they are being taught, through practice as to how they might possibly resolve the issues that come up, or things that they need. The only thing is that we have to be careful that it’s not a deceitful trick, that’s what they don’t want. They want to see the results of what they’re told.

In that regard, according to what we’re hearing, although it’s not over yet, we see and feel that with this practice we’re engaging in now we’re making twice the effort. Because for example: I’ve heard you here while you’re participating as scientists—you’re speaking among yourselves, as scientists. And the idea was for you to speak to the compañeras and compañeros. So the compañeros are asking, what are they saying? Because you’re speaking from one scientist to another. And then the delegates try to speak with the participants, but you’re all listening and maybe wanting to debate what another participant is saying, and we’re missing something.

So what we see is that it would be helpful to have another gathering in which you speak to one another, scientists to scientists. You would speak to one another and we want to see how you discuss; we want to hear, in the end, how you reach agreements like in the communities. In the communities, among the peoples, they get into it and then they say, okay, we’re going to let it go because we have an agreement. That’s what they do. So we want to learn, because if not, how are we going to learn how to be scientists?

What we are doing here, which I’ve already told you about, is something of a science. This new government system that the compañeros have, it’s small, but the compañeros are putting science to work in this act, and because of it, this small act, they’ve brought us together here. That is why we’re talking here today, thanks to the science of self-government, thanks to the compañeros.

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So I don’t know how you all will see it, maybe it seems like a long time away to plan for you to come in December, in order to have this meeting where we can see how you debate among yourselves, to see what agreements arise about what to do or how to do it. Also, if you are able, either collectively or individually, we could somehow reach an agreement for you to come here, go to a Caracol, set up your workshop… the only thing is that if you need a laboratory that includes more than an axe and a machete…well, we don’t have laboratories, but if you can bring it you’re welcome to. And there will be no lack of pozolito.ii It might be sour, but there will be plenty. There will be beans, vegetables, and no lack of students with the desire to learn. Above all, to learn in practice, as I told you.

So, this is the problem we’re presenting to you, wondering how you might help the compañeros who need not just medicine and land, but many other things which you’ll see when you come, when you go to the Caracol or Caracoles. There you’ll hear a lot of, “listen, how can we do this, or that, or this other thing.” And you’ll say, “the thing is I’m not a technician, I’m not an engineer, I’m a scientist.” It’s just there are so many things the compas need right now.

So now you have some months to think about it, and then you can send us your word, your thoughts and your plans so that we can see the fruit of what we’re doing here. Then we can also reach an agreement about the next gathering in December. And we’ll see about where, or we’ll ask our compañero here, the Doc, if it can be here, or we’ll think about where else it could be. That’s what we wanted to talk about with you, compañeros, brothers and sisters. Thank you very much.

iEl Viejo Antonio is a character in the early writings of the defunct Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos who plays the role of indigenous teacher and guide for the young insurgent during the early days of clandestine organization.

iiA drink made of ground maize and water.

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EZLN: The Cat-Dog And The Apocalypse

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December 29, 2016.

Science fiction.

Remember that: science fiction. You’ll see that, in your coming nightmares, it will help you to not become so distressed, or at least not uselessly distressed.

Perhaps you remember some science fiction movie. Perhaps science fiction set some of you down the path of scientific science.

It didn’t do that for me, perhaps because my favorite science fiction movie is La Nave de los Monstruosi with the unforgettable Eulalio González, known as “el Piporro,” the soundtrack for which has been unjustly excluded from the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the local and renowned “Clay Pozol Bowl.”ii Perhaps you’ve heard talk of the movie: it’s a “cult” film, according to one of those specialized magazines that nobody reads, not even the people who edit it. If you remember the film and/or you see it, you’ll doubtless understand why I ended up lost in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast and not in the suffocating bureaucratic web that, at least in Mexico, chokes scientific investigation.

You’ll also cheer the fact that that movie is my point of reference for science fiction, instead of 2001: A Space Odyssey by Kubrick, or Alien by Ridley Scott (with Lieutenant Ripley breaking with Charlton Heston’s blueprint of the macho survivor in “Planet of the Apes”), or Blade Runner, also by Ridley, where the question “Do androids dream of electric sheep?” is the nodal point.

So you should thank Piporro and his “Star of Desire”iii and the robot Tor in love with a jukeboxiv for the fact that that I’m not on their side in this encounter.

Anyway, cinephile philias aside, let’s suppose an average film of the genre: an apocalypse in progress or in the past; all of humanity in danger; first an audacious and intrepid man as the protagonist; then, from the hand of innocuous feminism, a woman, also audacious and intrepid; a group of scientists is convoked to a super secret facility (invariably of course located in the United States); a high-ranking military official explains to them: they must create a plan to save humanity; they do so, but it turns out that in the end, they need an individual hero or heroine who, as the story goes, annuls the collective work and at the last second, with a pair of pliers that appeared inexplicably, cuts the green or blue or white or black or red cable at random, and ta-da, humanity is saved; the group of scientists applauds like crazy; the young man or woman finds true love; the respectable public vacates the theater while the free-loaders check the seats to see if anyone left any half-finished cartons of popcorn, with that delicious and unbeatable taste of sodium benzoate.

The catastrophe has a variety of origins: a meteorite has changed course with the same constancy as a politician making declarations about the gas hikes; or a tornado of sharks; or a planet spinning off its course; or an irritated sun sending one of those igneous tongues out of its orbit; or an illness that comes from outer space, or a spaceship; or a biological weapon that gets out of control and, converted into an odorless gas, transforms whoever has contact with it into a professional politician or maybe into something not quite so horrible.

That, or the apocalypse is already a done deal and a group of survivors wanders without hope, introjecting the exterior barbarity into their individual and collective behavior, while humanity struggles between life and death.

The end can vary but the constant is the group of scientists, be they the ones who caused the disaster or the only hope of salvation, if of course a handsome man or woman appears at the opportune moment.

The film’s conclusion could be open-ended, or it could be a downright “dark beating” (José Alfredo Jiménez had already warned us that “life isn’t worth anything”).

Sure, let’s take as an example any novel, movie or TV series with an apocalyptic or catastrophic theme. Let’s say one with a popular theme: zombies.

A concrete example: the TV series The Walking Dead. For those who aren’t familiar with the plot, it’s simple: due to some unspecified cause, people who die “turn into” zombies; the protagonist wanders, he encounters a group, they establish a hierarchical organization in continual crisis and they try to survive. The series’ success could be due to the fact that it shows characters who, in normal situations, are mediocre or pariahs, and they become heroines and heroes willing to do whatever it takes. Some of them are:

Michonne, a housewife ignored and belittled by her husband and siblings, who becomes a fearsome warrior with a katana (played by the actress and dramaturge Danai Jekesal Gurira and, not to make you jealous, she’s the only one whose real name I give because, in the trunk left by SupMarcos, I found a picture of her in the character of Michonne, dedicated by her own hand to the deceased. Arrrrroz con leche!v).

Daryl, a manipulated pariah transformed into a “tracker” and a fearsome crossbowman. Up until now the symbol of the refusal to submit, resistance and rebellion.

Glenn, a pizza delivery boy turned star explorer. The handyman and “thousand lives” of the series, until Rickman returned to the comic.

Maggie, a young woman whom the zombie apocalypse saves from the monotonous life on a farm and converts her into a leader, despite being pregnant.

Carol, an abused wife transformed into a female version of Rambo, but smart.

Carl, an adolescent who behind his eyepatch hides a serial killer, as Negan well deduced.

Eugene, a nerd who symbolized science and eventually goes from being a pathological liar to becoming useful to the group.

Father Gabriel, the self-serving, opportunistic religious leader who reconverts himself and becomes necessary.

Tara and Aaron, the lesbian woman and the gay man who ensure the political correctness of the plot.

Rosita, my preferred wet dream, the Latina who combines passion, skill and courage.

Morgan, the survivor in “shaolin monk” mode.

Sasha, the woman who changes from the classic romantic role to that of realistic survivor.

And in the upper part of the hierarchy, the battered symbol of order, Rick, an ex-sheriff’s deputy who barely hides the fascist inclinations of any police officer.

I don’t know what season you’re on. Since the fifth one I stopped watching because the law caught up with the movie guy who used to send me the “alternative” editions and now who knows where he is (which is a shame, because he had promised me up to season 10, though not even Kirkman knows if there will be 10 seasons). But with what I’ve been able to watch, I understand the reason for its success.

It’s not hard to follow the plot, anyway: it’s enough to look at the spoilers that filter through on the respective Twitter hashtags.

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A few moons ago, I asked a compañera what would have happened if Rick, or any member of the group, had known ahead of time that what was going to happen would happen. I choose the police officer as my example because it seems that he is the only one whose survival is guaranteed, at least in the comic of the same name.

Would Rick have prepared himself? Would he have constructed a bunker and stockpiled in it food, medicines, fuel, weapons and ammunition, and the complete works of George Romero?vi

Or would he perhaps have tried to stop the disaster?

The compañera, Zapatista to the end, answered me with the same question: what did I think Rick Grimes would have done?

I didn’t hesitate to answer her: nothing. Even knowing what was going to happen, neither Rick nor any of the characters would have done anything.

And there’s a simple reason for that: despite all the evidence, they would have kept thinking, up until the very last minute, that nothing bad was going to happen, that it wasn’t such a big deal, that someone somewhere would have the solution, that order would be re-established, that there would be someone to obey and someone to boss around, that, in any case, the tragedy would happen to other people, somewhere else, geographically distant or distant in terms of their social position.

They would think up until the night before that the tragedy was something destined not for them [ellas, ellos, elloas], but for those who survive below… and to the left.

Zombies aside, in the majority of those apocalyptic narratives, there are one or more moments in which someone, invariably the protagonist, when everyone is surrounded by a horde of zombies or the meteorite is a short distance from their heads, or in a similar situation, says, with all the serenity and aplomb, “Everything is going to be all right”.

And it turns out that for this meeting I got stuck with the role of party pooper. So I should tell you what we see: No, it’s not a science fiction movie, but rather reality; and no, everything is not going to be all right, only a few things will be all right if we prepare ourselves ahead of time.

According to our analysis (and until now, we haven’t seen anyone or anything that refutes it; on the contrary, they confirm it), we are already in the middle of a structural crisis that, in colloquial terms, means the reign of criminal violence, natural disasters, runaway shortages and unemployment, scarcity of basic services, collapse of energy infrastructure, migration, hunger, sickness, destruction, death, desperation, anguish, terror, helplessness.

In sum: dehumanization.

The crime is in progress. The biggest, most brutal and cruel crime in the brief history of humanity.

And the criminal is a system willing to go to any lengths: capitalism.

In apocalyptic terms: it’s a fight between humanity and the system, between life and death.

The second option, death—I wouldn’t recommend it.

Actually, don’t die. It’s not in your best interest. Believe me, I know something about that because I’ve died several times.

It’s very boring. Since the entrances to heaven and hell suffer from an annoying bureaucracy (though it’s not as bad as those in the universities and research centers), the wait is worse than an airport or a bus station during holiday season.

Hell’s the same, you have to organize gatherings of the arts, exact and natural sciences, social sciences, originary peoples, and other equally terrible things. They force you to bathe and comb your hair. They inject you and make you to eat squash soup all the time. You have to listen to Peña Nieto and Donald Trump in a never-ending press conference.

Heaven, for its part, is the same, just that there you have to put up with a monotonous chorus of palid angels, and they all give you the runaround if you want to talk to God to complain about the music.

In sum: say no to death and yes to life.

But don’t fool yourselves.

You’re going to have to fight every day, at all hours and everywhere.

In that fight, sooner or later, you’ll realize that only collectively will you have any possibility of triumph.

And even so, you’ll see that you also need the arts and that you need us, too, and others [otros, otras, otroas] like us.

Organize yourselves.

As Zapatistas we are, we’re not only not asking you to abandon your scientific practice, we’re demanding that you continue it and deepen it.

Continue exploring this and other worlds, don’t stop, don’t despair, don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.

But we’re also asking you to seek out the arts. Even though the contrary might seem to be true, they will “anchor” your scientific task in what you have in common: humanity.

Enjoy dance in any of its forms. Perhaps at the beginning you won’t be able to avoid framing the movements in the laws of physics, but afterwards you’ll feel it, boom.

Go beyond geometry, color theory and neurology and enjoy painting and sculpture.

Resist the temptation to find the scientific logic to that poem, that novel, and let the words discover galaxies for you that only inhabit the arts.

Surrender when faced with the lack of scientific basis to the stories that in theater and film peer into that which is humanly imperfect, unstable, and unpredictable.

And so on with all the arts.

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Now imagine that it’s not your own daily life but rather the arts which are in danger of extinction.

Imagine people, not statistics: men, women, children, elders, with a face, a history, a culture, threatened with annihilation.

See yourselves in those mirrors.

Understand that it’s not about fighting for them or in their place, but rather with them.

See yourselves as we Zapatistas see you.

Science is not your limit, your dead weight, your useless burden, the activity you should carry out in clandestinity or hiding in the closet of the academies and institutes.

Understand what we have already understood: that, as scientists, you all fight for humanity, that is to say, for life.

-*-

Yesterday Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés was explaining to us that the communities are, and have been for decades, our teachers and tutors. That the interest in science is new in Zapatismo. That it’s been incited by the new generations, by the Zapatista youth who want to know more and better how the world works. That out of the organized communities came this newest push that has us here in front of you.

It’s true. But what’s not new in Zapatismo is the struggle for life.

Even in our willingness and plans when faced with death, we were concerned with life from the start.

Those who are older, or who are interested despite not being older, may know about the uprising: the taking of 7 municipal capitals, the bombardments, the clashes with the military forces, the desperation of the government upon seeing that they couldn’t defeat us, the civil uprising that forced them to stop, what’s followed in these almost 23 years.

What you might not know is what I’m going to tell you next:

We prepared ourselves to kill and to die—Subcomandante Insurgente Moises already summarized that for you. So then we had two options in front of us: the country as a whole would be ignited, or we would be annihilated. Imagine our bewilderment when neither the one nor the other took place. But that’s another story for which perhaps there will be another occasion.

Two options, but both had the common denominator of death and destruction. Even though you might not believe it, the first thing we did was prepare ourselves to live.

And I don’t mean those of us who fought in combat, those of us for whom knowledge of the resistance of different materials was useful for taking cover and finding shelter in combat and during bombardments; nor the knowledge that allowed the insurgent health workers to save the lives of dozens of Zapatistas.

I’m talking about the Zapatista bases of support, those to whom, as Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained last night, we owe the path, the pace, the direction and the destination as Zapatistas we are, just as we owe to them the interest in the arts, the sciences, and the effort to include us with the workers of the countryside and the cities, the world headquarters of struggle, resistance, and rebellion that’s called “the Sixth.”

Starting a few years prior to that apparently now distant January 1, in the Zapatista communities the so-called “reserve battalions” were formed.

The mission that was given to them was the most important one in the gigantic operation that carried thousands into combat: to survive.

For months they were given instruction. Thousands of boys, girls, women, men and elders trained to protect themselves from bullets and bombs; to gather and retreat in orderly fashion in case the army attacked or bombarded the towns; to place and locate deposits of food, water and medicine that would allow them to survive in the mountains for a long time.

“Do not die” was the only order that they were to follow.

The order that those of us who went to combat had was: “Don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.”

When we came back to the mountains and we met back up with our communities, we fused the two orders and made them into one alone: “Struggle to build our freedom.”

And we agreed to do so with everyone [todas, todos, todoas].

And we agreed that, if it wasn’t possible to do so in this world, then we would make another world, a bigger one, a better one, one where all the possible worlds fit, the ones that already exist and the ones we still haven’t imagined but that can already be found in the arts and sciences.

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, December 2016.

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog.

“What’s Lacking”

I was in my hut, reviewing and analyzing some videos of plays by Maradona and Messi.

Like a premonition, a ball bounced inside. “Defensa Zapatista” arrived behind it, entering without giving notice or asking permission. Behind the girl came the notorious Cat-Dog.

Defensa Zapatista” grabbed the ball and approached to look over my shoulder. I was busy trying to keep the Cat-Dog from eating the computer mouse so I didn’t notice that the girl was watching the videos with great interest.

“Hey Sup”, she said to me, “do you think Maradona and Messi are all that?”

I didn’t answer. From experience I know that Defensa Zapatista’s questions are either rhetorical or she’s not interested in hearing my answer.

She continued:

“But you’re not seeing the issue,” she said, “for as much as they might have of art and science, they both have a serious lack.”

Yes, that’s how she said it: “lack.” There I did interrupt her and I asked, “And just where did you get that word or where did you learn it?”

She responded, indignant: “That very bad Pedrito said it to me. He told me that I couldn’t play football because girls lack technique.”

“I got mad and I gave him a slap upside the head, because I didn’t know what that word meant and what if it’s a bad word. Of course, the very bad Pedrito ran to the education promotora to make a complaint about me and they called me in. I explained to the teacher the national and international situation, as they say, that the situation with the Hydra is really messed up and everything. And since the promotora understood that we have to support each other as the women we are, they didn’t reprimand me, but they sent me to look up what “lack” means. And well, I thought it was a better punishment than if they had sent me to eat squash soup.”

I nodded understandingly as I tried to get the mouse out of the Cat-Dog’s mouth.

“Well anyway, I went to look up what “lack” means on the internet in the office of the Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] and I found that it’s a song by the musicians of the struggle, that it’s really happy and that everyone starts dancing and jumping around as if they gotten into an anthill of leafcutter ants. So I went to the education promotoraand I told her that “lack” is a song that goes: “I wake up in the morning and I don’t feel like going to school.” She laughed and told me, “it’s ‘going to work.’” So then I told her that songs are up to each person’s taste and the problems they have. Which is to say I gave her the political explanation, but I don’t think she understood, because she just laughed. And then she sent me back to find out not about the song, but rather to look up what the word means. So I headed back and when I get there I had to wait for the guy who was on duty at the Junta to send out a denunciation. After that I was able to go in and there I saw that “lack” means you’re missing something. So I headed back to the education promotora and told her, and she said that there, now I’d seen that it wasn’t a bad word and she congratulated me. But since Pedrito was there eavesdropping I gave him another slap upside the head for going around saying that I lack technique. And then the promotora said she was going to tell my moms that I was doing that kind of thing, so I came to hide here because I know that nobody comes to see you.”

I took the jab heroically, as I was finally able to snatch the mouse back from the Cat-Dog.

Defensa Zapatista” continued her long-winded speech:

“But don’t worry Sup, before coming in, first I peeked in to make sure you weren’t looking at pictures of naked ladies that, errrr, just to get it over with, Sup, it’s really unbelievable, and anyway I’m not going to make a complaint against you with the collective “The Women We Are,” but I’ll tell you plainly that it’s no good what you’re doing, because it just means you have a lack of moms, that is, like SupMoy says when he gets angry, no tienes madre” [you have no mother].

I’d like to clarify here that it’s not true what “Zapatista Defense” says, what happened is that I was taking a correspondence course on anatomy.

Anyway, before the girl could continue airing my secrets, I asked her why she said that Maradona and Messi were seriously lacking in something.

She was almost in the threshold of the door when she answered:

“Because they’re missing the most important thing: being women.”

-*-

“An Interstellar Trip”

Among the pile of papers and drawings that the late SupMarcos left, I found what I’m going to read to you below. It’s a sort of draft or notes for a script, or something like that, supposedly for a science fiction film. It’s called:

Toward What Does the Gaze Look?

Planet Earth. Some year in the distant future, let’s say 2024. Among the new tourist destinations, now it’s possible to travel to space and go around the world in a satellite adapted “ad hoc” for that purpose. The spaceship is a scale replica of the lunar satellite, with a big window that looks out, during the whole trip, onto Earth. On the other side, let’s say the back, there’s a sort of skylight, about the size of a house window, that always looks out onto the rest of the galaxy. The tourists, of all colors and nationalities, crowd up against the window that looks onto the planet of origin. They take selfies and live-stream the images of the world, “blue like an orange,” to their friends and family. But not all the travelers are on that side. At least four people are in front of the opposite window. They’re forgotten about their respective cameras and they look out in ecstasy at the jumbled collage of celestial bodies: the snaking line of dusty light that is the Milky Way, the twinkling glimmer of stars that might not exist anymore, the frenetic dance of asteroids and planets.

One of the people is an artist; they’re not immobile, in their brain they imagine rhythms, lines and colors, movements, sequences, words, inert or mobile representations; their hands and fingers move involuntarily, their lips mumble incomprehensible words and sounds, their eyes open and close continuously. The arts see what they see and they see what could come to be seen.

Another one of the people is a scientist; their body doesn’t move at all, they look fixedly not at the closest lights and colors but rather at the most distant ones; in their brain they imagine unthought galaxies, inert and living worlds, stars being born, insatiable black holes, interplanetary vessels without flags. The sciences see what they see and they see what could come to be seen.

The third person is indigenous, of short stature, with dark skin and ancestral features. They look at and touch the window. Their mind and body press upon the solid, transparent material. In their brain they imagine the path and the pace, the speed and the rhythm; they imagine a destination that’s constantly changing. The originary peoples see what they see and they see the life that could be created in order to be seen.

The fourth person is Zapatista, of changing color and features. They look through and delicately touch the glass with their hand. They take our their notebook and start writing frenetically. In their brain they begin to make calculations, lists of tasks, jobs to start, they trace maps, they dream. Zapatismo sees what it sees and sees the world that it will be necessary to build so that the arts, sciences, and originary peoples can realize and fulfill what they see with their gaze.

At the end of the trip, while the other travelers acquire their last souvenirs in the “duty free” shops, the artist runs to their studio, or whatever it is, so that others [otros, otras, otroas] can see and feel what they see; the scientist immediately convokes other scientists because there are theories and formulas that need to be proposed, demonstrated, and applied; the indigenous person gets together with their fellow peoples and tells them what they saw in order that, collectively, the gaze can define the path, the pace, the company, the rhythm, the speed and the destination.

The Zapatista person goes to their community and in the community assembly explains and details everything that must be done so that the artist, the scientist, and the indigenous person can travel. The first thing the assembly does is critique the story or the tale or the script or whatever it’s called, because it’s missing the workers of the city and the countryside. It is proposed then that a commission write a letter to the deceased SupMarcos so that he puts the fifth element in the story, that is, the Cat Dog, because it already ate the internet cable and two flash drives belonging to the Tercios Compas, and it spends all its time chasing around the computer mouse, so better that they take it with them; and so that he also adds, as the sixth element, the Sixth, because without the Sixth the story isn’t complete. Having approved this, the assembly proposes, discusses, adds and subtracts, plans the timetables, distributes the tasks, votes to determine general agreement and names the commissions for each task.

Before the assembly is adjourned and everyone goes to start the tasks assigned to them, a little girl asks to have the floor.Without coming up to the front, standing almost at the back of the communal house, the girl strains to raise her voice and says: “I propose that on the list of things to take, that they include a soccer ball and a whole lot of pozol.” The rest of the assembly laughs uproariously. SubMoy, who’s sitting on the panel that’s coordinating the meeting, calls for order. Having achieved silence, SubMoy asks the girl what her name is. The girl responds, “My name is Defensa Zapatista,” and she puts on her best “you’ll never get past me, not even if you’re aliens” face. SubMoy then asks Defensa Zapatista why she is proposing this.

The girl climbs up on a wooden bench and argues: “The ball is because if they aren’t going to be able to play, then it’s pointless to go there where they want go. And the whole lot of pozol is to give them strength so they don’t faint along the journey. And also so that way out there, far away, where the other worlds are, they don’t forget where they came from”.

The little girl’s proposal is approved by popular acclaim. SubMoy is about to adjourn the meeting when “Defensa Zapatista” raises her little hand asking again for the floor. It is conceded to her. As the girl speaks, in one arm she holds a soccer ball and in the other hugs a small animal to her. It seems to be a dog… or a cat, or a cat-dog: “I just want to say that we haven’t filled out the team yet, but don’t worry, soon there are going to be more of us, sometimes it takes a while, but soon there are going to be more.”

I testify.

Woof-meow.

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i “La Nave de los Monstruos” (1960) or “The Ship of the Monsters,” a Mexican science fiction comedy film.

iiPozol de Barro,” prize to be awarded by the EZLN to the winning team in a 2005 soccer (football) competition between the Zapatista team and the FC Internationale de Milán.

iii Musical number by Piporro that appears in “La Nave de los Monstruos.”

iv Tor the robot and his jukebox lover are characters in the film.

v Literally “rice with milk,” a sweet rice dessert, but in this context an exclamation after a suggestive comment or as a general exclamation of excitement, as in “Yeehaw” or “Woohoo”

vi Director of cult classics Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead among many other horror films.

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EZLN: The Walls Above, The Cracks Below (And To The Left)

maxresdefault-csub-702x468February 2017

The Storm On Our Path

For us, as Zapatista originary peoples, the storm—the war—has been going on for centuries. It arrived to our lands with the lies of the dominant civilization and religion. At that time, the sword and the cross bled our people dry.

Over time, the sword was modernized and the cross was dethroned by the religion of capital, but it continued to demand our blood as an offering to the new god: money.

We resisted, we always resist. Our rebellions were displaced by the dispute between various forces for Power. Those forces, always from above, demanded that we struggle and die to serve them. They demanded obedience and submission under the guise of liberating us. Like those who said and say they fight, they came and come to rule. There were supposed independences and false revolutions, those past and those to come.

Since then, those above have taken turns and continue to take turns in order to govern, badly, or aspire to do so. In past and present calendars, their proposal continues to be the same: that we offer our blood, while they lead or pretend to lead.

Before and now, they forget those of us who do not forget.

And always, yesterday and today, the woman is below, even in the collective that we were and are.

But as the calendars went by, they not only brought pain and death to our people. Upon expanding its dominion, Power created new brotherly and sisterly bonds in tragedy.

We saw then the worker and the peasant become one with our pain, lying under the four wheels of the mortal carriage of Capital.

As Power advanced in its path through time, those below grew increasingly more, broadening the base over which Power is and has Power. We saw that we were joined then by teachers, students, artisans, small business people, professionals, and the etceteras with different names but identical sorrows.

But that wasn’t enough. Power is an exclusive space, discriminatory and selective. Thus different kinds of difference were also openly persecuted. By colour, race, creed, and sexual preference, they were expelled from the promised land and given hell as a permanent residence.

Next came young people, children, and elders. Power thus converted the calendars one holds into cause for persecution. Everyone below is guilty: for being a woman, for being a child, for being a young person, for being an adult, for being an elder, for being human.

But, upon expanding exploitation, displacement, repression, and discrimination, Power also expanded resistance… and rebellion.

We saw then and now the raised heads of many [muchas, muchos, muchoas]. All different, but similar in their rage and refusal.

Power knows that it is what it is only when wielded over those who work. It needs them.

It responded and responds to every rebellion by buying or fooling a few and imprisoning or murdering many. It is not afraid of their demands; it is their example that terrifies it.

Still it was not enough. Having dominated nations, the Power of Capital sought to put all of humanity under its heavy yoke.

Even that wasn’t enough. Capital now attempts to manage nature, to dominate, domesticate, and exploit her. That is, to destroy her.

The destructive advance of Capital, always through war, demolished the first fiefdoms and kingdoms. Upon their ruins it raised nations.

Later it devastated nations and upon their ruins erected a new global order: the market.

The entire world became a big warehouse for commodities. Everything can be bought and sold: water, wind, land, plants and animals, governments, knowledge, fun, desire, love, hate, people.

But it is not only commodities that are exchanged in the great market of Capital. “Economic freedom” is a mere illusion that simulates mutual agreement between those who buy and sell. In reality, the market is based on dispossession and exploitation. The exchange then is one of impunity. Justice is transformed into a grotesque caricature and upon its scale, money always weighs more than truth. The stability of this tragedy called Capitalism depends on repression and disrespect.

But that wasn’t enough either. It is not possible to dominate the world if one does not dominate ideas. Religious imposition was intensified and reached the arts and sciences. Philosophies and beliefs emerged and emerge like passing fashions. The sciences and the arts ceased to be something distinctively human and instead were placed on a shelf in the global supermarket.

Knowledge became private property, as did recreation and pleasure.

Capital thus consolidated itself as a giant shredder, using not only humanity in its entirety as raw material for commodity production, but also knowledge, art, and…nature.

The destruction of the planet, the millions of displaced, the rise in crime, unemployment, poverty, the weakness of governments and the wars to come are not products of the excesses of Capital, or of a mistaken detour of a system that promised order, progress, peace, and prosperity.

No, all of these tragedies are the essence of the system.

It feeds on them; it grows at their cost.

Destruction and death are the fuel for the great machine of Capital.

Attempts to “rationalize” or “humanize” its functioning were, are, and will be futile. Irrationality and inhumanity are its key parts. There is no possible repair. There wasn’t before, and there is no way now to mitigate its criminal path.

The only way to stop this machine is to destroy it.

In the current world war, the dispute is between the system and humanity. That is why the anticapitalist struggle is a struggle for humanity.

Those who still try to “repair” or “save” the system are really proposing to us a mass global suicide, like a posthumous sacrifice to Power.

In the system there is no solution.

Neither horror, condemnation, nor resignation are sufficient, nor is the hope that the worst has passed and things can only get better.

No. What is certain is that things will get worse.

For these reasons, in addition to what each of us can add from our particular calendars and geographies, we must resist, rebel, say “no,” struggle, organize.

That is why we must raise the wind from below with resistance and rebellion, with organization.

Only then will we be able to survive. Only then will it be possible to live.

And only then, as we said 25 years ago, will we be able to see that….

When the storm calms, when the rain and fire leave the earth in peace once again, the world will no longer be the world, but something better.”

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The War and the Walls Outside and Inside

Provoked by the greed of big money, the intention above is to make those suffering the current nightmare pay for it. Borders are no longer just lines drawn on maps and customs checkpoints, but walls of armies and police, of cement and brick, of laws and persecution. In the world above, the hunting of human beings increases and is celebrated with clandestine competitions: whoever expels, incarcerates, confines, and murders the most wins.

As we have been saying for more than 20 years, neoliberal globalization did not bring about a global village, but rather the fragmentation and dissolution of the so-called “Nation-States.” Then and now we called this process by the name that best describes it: “world war” (the fourth, according to us).

The only thing that was globalized was the market, and with it, war.

For those who operate the machines and bring the land to life, borders continue to exist and continue to be what they always have been: prisons.

Two decades ago, our assertion of this reality provoked mocking smiles from the international intelligentsia, tied to its old and expired dogmas.

Those same people today stutter in the face of a frantic reality, or they recommend old recipes, or they move on to a currently trendy idea that, through complex theoretical elaboration, hides the only truth at hand: they haven’t the slightest idea what is happening, nor what is coming, nor what brought on the current nightmare.

They lament this. The thinking from above had promised them a world without borders, and the result was instead a planet crammed with chauvinist trenches.

The world was not transformed into a gigantic metropolis without borders, but rather a great sea writhing in an unprecedented storm. In that sea, millions of displaced (who are grouped together by the media paintbrush as “migrants”) flail in small boats, waiting to be rescued by the gigantic ship of big Capital.

Not only will it not rescue them, but big Capital is the principal cause of the storm that threatens the existence of humanity in its entirety.

Under the awkward disguise of fascist nationalism, the most retrograde dark times return, claiming privileges and attentions. Tired of governing from the shadows, big Capital dismantles the lies of “citizenship” and “equality” before the law and the market.

The flag of “freedom, equality, and fraternity” with which capitalism adorned its conversion into the dominant world system is merely a dirty rag, tossed in the garbage bin of history from above.

Finally the system unmasks itself and shows its true face and vocation. “War Always, War Everywhere,” reads the name on the proud ship that navigates through a sea of blood and shit. It is money and not artificial intelligence that fights humanity in the decisive battle: that of survival.

No one is safe. Not the naive national capitalist who dreamed of the bonanza that was offered by open global markets, nor the conservative middle class surviving between the dream of being powerful and the reality of being the flock for the shepherd in turn.

Then there are the working classes of the city and countryside who increasingly find themselves in even more difficult conditions, if that were possible.

And, to round out the apocalyptic image, the millions of displaced and migrants piling up at the borders that have suddenly become as real as the walls that governments and criminals raise with every step.

In the global geography of the mass media and the social networks, the displaced, nomadic ghosts without name or face, are merely a statistic that identifies their location.

The calendar? Just one day after the promise of the end of history, of the solemn declaration of the supremacy of a system that was to have guaranteed wellbeing to those who worked for it, of victory over the “communist enemy” who sought to restrict freedom, impose dictatorships and create poverty, of the promised eternity that would annul all genealogies. The same calendar that announced just yesterday that world history was only getting started. And it turns out that no, it was all nothing more than a prelude to the most frightening nightmare.

Capitalism as a world system is collapsing, and the great captains, now desperate, can no longer figure out where to go. That’s why they are withdrawing into the lairs from which they came.

They offer the impossible: local salvation against global catastrophe. And this rubbish sells well among a middle class that is blurring into those from below in terms of its income, but which aspires to make up for its unmet economic needs with authentications of race, creed, color and sex. Salvation from above is Anglo-Saxon, white, religious, and masculine.

Now, those who lived on the crumbs that fell from the tables of big capital watch desperately as walls are erected against them, too. And the worst part is that they intend to head the opposition to this warlike policy. Here we see the intellectual right making contrary gestures and attempting timid and ridiculous protests. Because, no: globalization was not the triumph of freedom. It was and is the current age of tyranny and slavery.

Nations are not Nations anymore, although their respective governments might not have noticed it yet. Their flags and emblems are threadbare and discolored. Destroyed by globalization from above, sick with the parasite of Capital and with corruption as their only sign of identity, the national governments try with inept haste to protect themselves and attempt the impossible reconstruction of what they once were.

In the airtight compartments created by their walls and customs checkpoints, the system drugs the middle sectors of society with the opium of a reactionary, nostalgic nationalism, with xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia as a plan for salvation.

Borders multiply within every territory. Not just the ones that are drawn on maps; also, and above all, the ones that are erected by corruption and crime turned into government.

The postmodern bonanza was nothing but a balloon inflated by finance capital. And then reality came to pop it: millions of people displaced by the great war fill the land and waterways, they pile up in customs and begin making cracks in the walls already raised and the ones still to be built. Encouraged before by big Capital, fundamentalisms find fertile ground for their proposals for unification: “from terror will be born a single way of thinking: ours.” After being nourished with dollars, the beast that is terrorism threatens the house of its creator.

It’s the same thing in the United States as in Western Europe or neo-czarist Russian; the beast writhes and tries to protect itself. It extols then (and not only then) the crudest stupidity and ignorance, and, in its government figureheads, synthesizes its proposal: “Let’s go back to the past.”

But no, America will not be great againNever again. Nor will the whole system in its entirety. It doesn’t matter what those above do. The system has already arrived at the point of no return.

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Against Capital and its Walls: All the Cracks.

The international offensive of Capital against racial and national differences, in promoting the construction of cultural and legal walls as well as those of cement and steel, seeks to shrink the planet even further. In this way they are trying to create a world where the only ones who fit are those above who are equal amongst themselves.

It may sound ridiculous, but this is how it is: to face the storm, the system is not looking for roofs to protect itself, but rather walls behind which to hide.

This new period of Capital’s war against Humanity must be faced, yes, with organized resistance and rebellion, but also with solidarity and support for those whose lives, freedoms, and goods are being attacked.

For this reason:

Whereas the system is incapable of stopping the destruction.

Whereas below and to the left there must be no room for conformity and resignation.

Whereas it is time to organize to struggle and to say “NO” to the nightmare they impose on us from above.

THE SIXTH COMMISSION OF THE EZLN AND THE ZAPATISTA BASES OF SUPPORT CONVOKE:

I- A global campaign:

In the face of Capital’s walls: resistance, rebellion, solidarity, and support from below and to the left.

With the objective of calling for organization and global resistance in the face of the aggressiveness of big money and its respective overseers on the planet, which already terrorize millions of people all around the world:

We are calling for people to organize themselves in autonomy to resist and rebel against persecutions, detentions, and deportations. If someone has to go, let it be them, those above. Every human being has the right to a free and dignified existence in the place that they deem best, and has the right to fight to stay there. Resisting detentions, displacements, and expulsions is an obligation, just as it is an obligation to support those who are rebelling against those arbitrary actions REGARDLESS OF BORDERS.

It is necessary to let all those people know that they are not alone, that their pain and rage are seen even from a distance, that their resistance is not only welcomed, it is also supported, even with our limited possibilities.

It is necessary to get organized. It is necessary to resist. It is necessary to say “NO” to persecutions, expulsions, prisons, walls, borders. And it is necessary to say “NO” to the national bad governments that are and have been accomplices to that policy of terror, destruction and death. Solutions will not come from above, because that’s where the problems were born.

For this reason we are calling on the Sixth in its entirety to organize itself, according to its times, ways, and geographies, to support activities for and by those who are resisting and rebelling against expulsions. This may be by supporting their return to their homes, by creating “sanctuaries” or supporting the ones that already exist, through legal advice and support, with money, through the arts and sciences, through festivals and mobilizations, through commercial and media boycotts, in cyberspace, wherever and however possible. In all the spaces we move through it is our duty to support and be in solidarity with each other.

The time has come to create solidarity committees with the criminalized and persecuted of humanity. Today more than ever before, their house is also our house.

As the Zapatistas we are, our strength is small and, although our calendar is wide and deep, our geography is limited.

For this reason, and to support those who are resisting detentions and deportations, over the last several weeks the Sixth Commission of the EZLN has begun contacting individuals, groups, collectives and organizations around the world that are adherents to the Sixth, to figure out how to send them a small bit of assistance that may serve as a base to launch or continue all kinds of activities and actions in favour of the persecuted.

To start, we will send them works of art created by indigenous Zapatistas for last year’s CompArte, as well as organic coffee produced by the indigenous Zapatista communities in the mountains of the Mexican Southeast. This is so that, through their sale, they can undertake artistic and cultural activities that will concretize support and solidarity with migrants and displaced people who, all over the world, are seeing their lives, freedoms, and goods threatened by xenophobic campaigns promoted by the world’s governments and the far-right.

That’s just for now. We will be thinking of new forms of support and solidarity. The Zapatista women, men, children and elders will not leave them on their own.

II- We also invite all of the Sixth and anyone who is interested to the seminar of critical reflection, “THE WALLS OF CAPITAL, THE CRACKS OF THE LEFT,” to be celebrated April 12-15, 2017, at the CIDECI-UniTierra facilities in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. Participants include:

Don Pablo González Casanova.María de Jesús Patricio Martínez (CNI).

Paulina Fernández C.

Alicia Castellanos.

Magdalena Gómez.

Gilberto López y Rivas.

Luis Hernández Navarro.

Carlos Aguirre Rojas.Arturo Anguiano.

Sergio Rodríguez Lascano.

Christian Chávez (CNI).

Carlos González (CNI).

Sixth Commission of the EZLN.

We will provide more details soon.

III- We convoke all artists for the second edition of “CompArte for Humanity” with the theme: “Against Capital and its Walls: All of the Arts” to be celebrated around the world and in cyberspace. The “real” part will take place between July 23-29, 2017, in the caracol of Oventik and at the CIDECI-UniTierra. The virtual edition will be August 1-12, 2017, on the web. We will provide more details soon.

IV- We also ask that you be on the lookout for the activities to be convoked by the National Indigenous Congress as part of its process of formation of the Indigenous Council of Government.

V- We convoke the scientists of the world to the second edition of “ConCiencias for Humanity” with the theme: “The Sciences Against the Wall,” to be celebrated December 26-30, 2017, at CIDECI-UniTierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico and in cyberspace. We will provide more details soon.

That’s not all. It is necessary to resist, it is necessary to rebel, it is necessary to struggle, it is necessary to get organized.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, February 14 (the day of our dead), 2017.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/02/14/los-muros-arriba-las-grietas-abajo-y-a-la-izquierda/

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CNI/EZLN In Solidarity With Rarámuri People

Joint Communique from the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in Solidarity with the Rarámuri People

Stop the assassinations of Rarámuri Indigenous Compañeros Defending Their Territory!raramuri

Indigenous Territories of Mexico

February 4, 2017

To the people of Choreachi,

To all of the Rarámuri People,

To the Indigenous Peoples,

To the people of Mexico,

To the peoples of the world,

We learned today of the murders of Indigenous Rarámuri compañeros Juan Ontiveros Ramos and Isidro Baldenegro, both of the community of Choreachi in the municipality of Guadalupe y Calvo, Chihuahua, yesterday February 2, and 15 days ago, respectively.

We urgently denounce these new acts of barbarity against compañeros known for their commitment to the struggle of their people for the recuperation of their territory, which was taken over 40 years ago by large landowners/ranchers and organized crime.

As the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we are in solidarity with the Rarámuri People who have been so hurt by these murders, now totaling 18 homicides committed against their communities since 1973, four of them in the last year.

Compañeros and compañeras, you are not alone! We accompany you in your pain, we open our hearts to the tireless struggle you are waging against organized crime and the landowners backed by the bad governments, and we offer you our support as indigenous peoples of this country who are organizing ourselves to defend our lives and our territories.

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STOP THE ASSASSINATIONS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE IN STRUGGLE!

NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US!

NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/02/05/comunicado-conjunto-del-congreso-nacional-indigena-y-el-ejercito-zapatista-de-liberacion-nacional-en-solidaridad-con-el-pueblo-raramuri/

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EZLN: Zapatista Alchemy

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January 2, 2017.

We take a lot of care with the value of the word. When we talk about someone, we’re not just saying his or her name: we’re naming his or her presence with us.

That’s what we mean when we say “brother” or “sister”; but when we say “compañera” or “compañero,” we’re talking about a back and forth, about someone who is not outside but rather who sees and listens to the world, and fights for it, together with us.

I mention this because here with us is the compañero Don Pablo González Casanova, who is, as is evident, a Zapatista Autonomous Municipality in Rebellion unto himself.

Since the compañero Pablo Gonzalez Casanova is here, I’m going to try to raise the level and scientific rigour of my presentation, avoiding any sort of double-entendre (large or small, pay attention).

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Alchemy. Before you use up your data on your cell phones and tablets checking what “alchemy” is on “Wikipedia,” and overwhelm me with all sorts of definitions, let me clarify that with this term we’re referring to an antecedent, a step that precedes (whether necessary or not, you can decide) the constitution of science as such. Or as the late SupMarcos used to say, “alchemy is a sick science, a science invaded by the parasites of philosophy, ‘folk wisdom,’ and the kind of evidence that saturates the complex world of contemporary communication,” as we can read in one of the documents left behind after his death.

In that text, the deceased indicated that alchemy was not necessarily a precursor to science as indicated by the saying, “all science was alchemy before it was science.” Rather, it was a non-science that aspired to be science. He also said that alchemy, unlike the pseudo-sciences, does not build on a mix of truths and knowledges, with evidence and clichés. Pseudo-science, he says, does not move closer to science but rather separates itself from it and will become its most ferocious enemy; it will succeed in getting more publicity in times of crisis. It does not constitute an alternative explanation of reality (as is the case with religion), but rather a “reasoning” that supplants, invades and conquers scientific thought, defeating it in the most important contest in a media society: that of popularity.

Pseudo-science does not aspire to the argument of faith, hope and charity. Rather, it offers an explanation with a logical structure that “tricks” reasoning. To put it plainly: pseudo-science is a fraud, typical of the charlatanism that abounds in academia.

Alchemy, on the other hand, aspires to free itself, to “cure” itself, to “purge” the parasites that are the non-scientific elements.

Although it claims dubious maternity rights over the sciences, philosophy, which calls itself “the science of the sciences,” is, according to the text of the deceased, one of those very parasites. “Perhaps the most dangerous one,” continues the late Sup, “because it presents itself to science as a way out of that affirmation-negation, ‘I don’t know’, that, sooner or later, science bumps up against. Its commitment to rationality leads science to supplant religion with philosophy when it arrives at its limit.”

For example, if it didn’t have the capacity to explain why it rains, instead of invoking the argument that god is the one who decides about rainfall, science would prefer to invoke a reasoning along the lines of, “The rain is none other than a social construction, with a theoretical-empirical appearance revolving around a random perception that occurs in the context of a continual conflict between being and non-being; it’s not that you get wet when it rains, but rather that your perception of ‘getting wet’ is a vacillating part of a universal decoloniality.”

Even though all this could be summarized as, “it’s really up to the rain whether it falls, or falls on you,” science would embrace this external explanation, because, among other things, science believes that its explicatory power is in language, and not in the power to make possible the transformation of reality. “Know in order to transform,” they told us here a few days ago. Philosophy successfully sells science its certificate of legitimacy: “you are science when you achieve a logic in language, not when you are able to understand.”

If we go even further, for “Zapatista alchemy,” science not only understands reality and thereby makes possible its transformation; scientific knowledge also “opens the path” and defines new horizons. That is to say, for Zapatista alchemy, science completes its duty by continually arriving at the recognition that “what is missing is yet to come.”

If, in the philosophical and scientific thought of the last century, the sciences progressively “dismantled” religious explanations, offering verifiable knowledge; then in the coming crisis, the pseudo-sciences do not confront reality with a magical explanation, but rather “invade” and “parasitize” the sciences, first in order to “humanize” them, and then in order to supplant them.

Philosophies are then transformed such that they no longer function as the tribunal that sanctions scientificity according to the logical structure of language, but rather the generic, naturopath and homeopathic explanation opposed to the “obvious”, scientific one. To make myself clear: for postmodern philosophy, micro-doses are the best weapon against the big pharmaceutical monopolies.

The popularity of the pseudo-sciences is rooted in the fact that a scientific background is unnecessary: it’s enough to nourish oneself in the hidden corners of language, to supplement ignorance with badly concealed pedantry and evidence and platitudes with complex linguistic inventions.

Faced with an affirmation like: “the law of universal gravitation says that the force of attraction between two bodies with mass is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance that separates them,” science will recur to observation and experimentation, while philosophy will analyze the logical reasoning in the language.

Another example: an assertion from the neurosciences, like “a lesion in area 17 of the occipital lobe can cause cortical blindness or blind spots, depending on the extent of the lesion,” can be confirmed with functional magnetic resonance imaging, an electroencephalogram or similar technologies.

Clearly, in order to be able to do this it was necessary for science to advance to be able to study the brain and explain its parts, but the development of other sciences was also necessary to obtain the functional neuroimages.

When, upon the recommendation of a compa, I read that excellent text called The Man Who Mistook his Wife for a Hat, by the neurologist Oliver Sacks, I thought that Sacks must have been itching to open that man’s head to see what was happening in his brain. Although I would have preferred to open his wife’s head to understand how she could stand to be confused for a hat and why she didn’t “fix” her husband’s dysfunction with a good smack upside the head.

Now, scientific-technological advances will make it possible to study, for example, what happens in the Cat-dog’s brain without the necessity of opening its head.

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Despite this, faced with a scientific explanation for brain function, pseudo-science will offer its own explanation using a supposedly scientific language, and it will tell us that our problems are due to the fact that we haven’t developed the full capacity of our brain function. And so, theories abound that say that intelligence is measured by the percentage of the brain that is used. A more intelligent person uses a greater percentage of his or her brain. For example, Donald Trump and Enrique Peña Nieto would have in common that they use 0.00001% of their brains, while Einstein would have used, let’s say, 30%. The success of the movie “Lucy” is not limited to the box-office, nor due only to the fact that it was directed by Luc Bensson and stars my ex, Scarlett Johansson; it’s because it permits the appearance of charlatans who offer courses so you can become more intelligent using “scientific techniques” to take advantage of your maximum brain capacity.

And so the commercial success of products with pheromones to attract the opposite sex was brief. (“If you, my friend, can’t manage to catch the bus much less a man or woman-friend, it’s not because you can’t pull yourself away from the TV or computer screen, it’s because you don’t use this soap-perfume: after the first use, you’ll see how they throw themselves at you as if you were a youtuber, tweetstar or a trendy meme. And just look, for one time only we have a special offer of 333 for the price of 2, but only if you call the number on the screen in the next 15 minutes. Remember to have your credit card number on hand. You don’t have a credit card? For the love of…well that’s why you can’t even catch a cold, much less a partner; no, friend, not even pheromones will help you. Change the channel or go watch videos of funny accidents, the prophecies of Nostradamus or similar things that will provide conversation material in the chat room of your preference).

But just behind in the relay race is the stupid blunder of “brain capacity,” which is supplanting the pheromone lotions with products that develop your cognitive capacities: you too, friend, can be a successful person and learn to fly and repair interstellar spaceships on youtube.

Perhaps this proposal, which is neither modern nor post-modern, would not be so supported even by some scientists if they knew that one of its promoters was Dale Carnegie, with his self-help best-seller, which dates from 1936, titled How to Win Friends and Influence People, which sits on the bedside table of John M. Ackerman et al.

In sum, while scientists try to confirm or discard their hypotheses about how the brain works, pseudo-scientists sell you courses on brain gymnastics and things like that.

And, in general, while the sciences require rigour, study, theory and exhaustive practice, the pseudo-sciences offer knowledge at the click of that dark object of desire for the Cat-dog: the computer mouse.

Which is to say that science is not easy: it’s hard, it demands, it obligates. It’s obviously not popular even among the scientific community.

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And then science doesn’t do anything for itself and it decides to break your heart without a second thought. It happened to me, for example. You all have to be strong and mature for what I’m about to tell you. Sit down, relax, be in harmony with the universe, and prepare yourselves to learn a crude and cruel truth. Are you ready? Well, it turns out that the moka or moca doesn’t exist. There’s no such thing as a moka tree or a moka mineral. The moka is not a creation of the first gods to alleviate the life and death of SupMarcos. It’s not the prohibited fruit with which the serpent, dressed-up as a seller of rejuvenating cosmetics, tricked wicked Eve, who in turn coaxed noble Adam and screwed over Rome. Nor is it the holy grail, the sorcerer’s stone that moves the search for knowledge. No, it turns out that…. moka is a hybrid or a mix or something like that. I don’t remember of what with what because, when they told me about it, I got more depressed than when one of the scientists said that the most brilliant alchemist was not present, and then, I confess, I threw myself into vice and perdition. I distanced myself from worldly distractions and I understood, then, the success of the philosophies and pseudo-sciences in vogue today. What is there to live for if the moka is nothing but a construction of the social imaginary? Then I got a better understanding of that spontaneous philosopher who would have had great success on social networks, and who responded to the name of Jose Alfredo Jimenez. “Paths of Guanajuato” [“Caminos de Guanajuato”] would have been the Critique of Pure Reason that Kant couldn’t elaborate.

But, despite injuries and scars, the presentations you all gave start to produce effects:

One insurgente official listened to the talk that Dr. Claudio Martinez Debat gave about genetic inheritance, and he concluded that it’s true. “I applied it quickly, thinking about the communities and, yes, if a compa is a certain way, you see that his father and mother have the same way about them. For example, if SubMoy is very bad-tempered, then it’s because his father was very bad-tempered himself.”

“Ah,” I said to him, “so SubMoy gets mad at us not because we don’t complete our tasks, but because his father was very bad-tempered?”

The scientific investigation is still pending because at that moment SubMoy arrived to check whether we had prepared the things to go to Oventik. That is, justice fell upon on us.

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This is a meeting of the Zapatistas and the sciences. We added “con” to “sciences” not just because of the play on words, but also because your having accepted this meeting with us goes beyond your duty and could imply a reflection about the world, too, as well as an explanation of what you work on in your respective specialties.

As in our previous participations, Subcomandante Insurgente Moises and he who writes and reads this are making an effort to give you data so you can form an image (a profile, they would say these days) of the type of Zapatista who is interested in learning from you all.

We’re striving for this because, as we also said in our other intervention, our aspiration is for this meeting to be repeated, and for it to multiply quantitatively and qualitatively.

With your presentations, you all give us an idea not only of the knowledge you possess, but also of your reasons for accepting our invitation and for being present here in person or via texts, audios and videos.

Because we need science, we are displaying all our charms now, together with SubMoy, in order to convince you all that here, with us, you can and should do science.

That’s why we’re telling you not about science, but about what we have been and what we are, and what we want to be.

We can do what we can. We can’t offer you scholarships, resources, or recognitions to plump up your curriculum vitae. Gosh, we can’t even help you get a few class-hours, much less a tenured position.

It’s true, we could try to con you and put on our “I’m a poor Zapatista who lives in the mountains” face.

Or insinuate, with a seductive voice, “What’s up my plebeian friend, I know you want a piece of this, come on already. You know the scientists say not to produce any more production because the world is as full as the metro at 7:30am: don’t make any more products they say, better to adopt instead. So you and I are going to offer them a full assortment as they say, like cow-tongue or shredded pork tacos, so they have options. If it comes out a boy we’ll keep going until we get a girl, or the other way around, switching, going by pairs. The point is that what’s important isn’t winning, but rather competing.”

Or with a DM that invites: “Come on, let’s deconstruct our clothes and contextualize our private parts.”

Or we could send you a whatsapp that suggests: “You, me, and a particle accelerator: I’m just saying, think about it.”

We could do that, though it surely wouldn’t be successful.

What we’re thinking of doing is what we’re saying: show ourselves as we are and how we’ve come to be what we are.

So that you don’t feel you’re at a disadvantage knowing that you’re being not only listened to, but evaluated (the closing ceremony of this event, on January 4, is when the 200 masked men and women, our compañeros and compañeras, the Zapatista bases of support, will evaluate this event), we’ve tried to give you elements so that you can evaluate us and decide how to answer the complex question of whether you will return, or file these days under “never repeat ever again.”

That evaluation will be our first disagreement and we will have to decide if we overcome it like mature adults and take up couples therapy, or if we call it a day.

In any case, it is to be expected that on your way home you’ll say to yourselves, “sonofa…and I was complaining about the Conacyt [National Council of Science and Technology] and the National System of Researchers.”

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Before, I told you that one way to get to know us was to ask why we ask what we ask. So other possible questions could be, “what do you understand by and expect of science and of scientists?”

For us, science implies knowledge that doesn’t depend on other factors. Note, that’s science, not scientific research. That is, for example, exact science by antonomasia, mathematics in the singular or various kinds of mathematics. Is there a capitalist math and one below and to the left? I give this extreme example because, starting from the still-developing sciences, the “young” sciences as they say, with their understandable errors and stumbling explanations, generalizations are made that say “science is guilty of this and that.” “Science is racist, discriminatory, and doesn’t take into consideration the personal and passionate drama of the scientist.” And there, in the apocalypse of the cat-dog, it becomes the “mother of all misfortune.”

We Zapatistas don’t do science, but we want to learn it, study it, know it, apply it.

We are familiar with the courtship the pseudo-sciences offer us, and with their path of poverty-optimization: the attempt to sweet talk us with the idea that the non-knowledges we have are really “wisdoms.”

I’m going to ignore for now the fact that this position invariably comes from someone who has never done science, that is, beyond middle school science experiments.

But that’s what they tell us, and they give us the example that we know when to plant. It’s true, we do know when to plant; we identify certain “signals” in nature and, through tradition and custom, we know it’s time to sow seeds.

But we don’t know why those signals indicate that it’s time to plant, nor what the relationship is between those signals.

The Zapatista young peoples’ interest in science (as in the example of the estafiatei that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés told us about a few days ago) finds echo and support from the adults and the elders, because climate change has caused those signals to become blurry.

So now, with climate change, the dry season and rainy season have been disrupted. Now it rains when it’s not the time for rain and doesn’t rain when it is. The cold season has been reduced in time and intensity. Animals that are supposed to belong in certain zones begin to appear in others that have neither similar vegetation nor climate.

When the rains are late in coming and the crops are at risk, the custom in the communities is to set firecrackers off into the sky “to wake the clouds,” or to remind god that it’s time for rain, like a reminder of the work at hand in case god got distracted. But it turns out that god is either really busy or not listening, or just doesn’t have anything to do with the extended draught.

So you see, ancestral knowledge isn’t enough, if in fact you can call it knowledge.

So what some call the “ancestral knowledge” of the indigenous confronts a world that they do not understand, that they do not know. And the Zapatistas, instead of consoling ourselves in churches or shrines or resorting to prayer, realize that we need scientific knowledge, now not out of curiosity but out of the necessity to do something real to change our reality or to confront it under better conditions.

That’s why the generations that prepared and carried out the uprising, those that sustained resistance with rebellion, and those that grew up in the context of autonomy and maintain the rebellion and resistance, all agree on one need: scientific knowledge.

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We don’t know how sensitive science is to public opinion, social networks, or the imposition of paths or explanations, not because of the pressure of money, Power, or the system, but because of self-censorship.

We don’t know if something exists that could be called “another science,” and if it would correspond to a media or social court that judges, condemns, and executes sentences against the sciences.

To whom does the construction of another science correspond, if there is something that can be named as such?

We Zapatistas think it corresponds to the scientific community, regardless of its phobias, affinities, political militancy or lack thereof. And we think that community should resist and combat the parasites that latch onto it, or that already inhabit and weaken it.

That is why, even if we don’t manage to convince you that ours is an effort for life as well and that we need you in that endeavour, you should keep on without tiring, without compromise, and without concessions, to us or anyone else.

You should keep on because your commitment is to science, that is, to life.

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

SupGaleano.

Mexico, January 2017

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog

The 3-of-3 of the Cat-Dog

I don’t know if this is still the case, but 10-12 years ago, people sang and danced ska. I vaguely remember that concerts were organized in solidarity with various people’s struggles. At those concerts, and I don’t know either if they still do this, but instead of paying money, dough, bread, cash, you could get in with a pound of rice, beans, or sugar that would later be sent to those movements. Some of those concerts were to support the Zapatista communities’ resistance, and on one occasion, I think in 2004, they sent me some videos where the only thing you could see was a cloud of dust, in the midst of which you could vaguely make out the crowd jumping around as if they had ants in their pants to the rhythm of “La Carencia,” which is what Defensa Zapatista found on the internet when she looked up the word. I told the compa you couldn’t see a damned thing on the video and he responded that maybe it was my computer, because on his you could see, I quote, “dope, man, dope.

Of course it turns out that his computer was one of those super-modern ones with a foot control, a heliport, a bowling alley and a minibar, and mine, well how can I tell you, it had a DOS operating system and the most modern thing it could read was a 5-inch floppy disk (which was like trying to read the “Piedra del Sol,”ii which is or was housed in the National Museum of Anthropology, with the disinterested support of IBM).

On one trip that compa made to these mountains, he checked my laptop over and declared, and I quote: “yeah that’s lame, plus it’s not even the original video, who knows who that’s from, here, this is the real thing,” and he pulled up another video taken from the stage. There you could hear the music and see the crowd holding up different kinds of stuffed animals. If people still play, sing, and dance to that kind of music, they must have been dying of envy when they saw the Sherlock Holmes and Einstein dolls I had here during the first talk.

It turns out around that around that same time the deceased SupMarcos recorded a CD with the musicians who call themselves “Panteón Rococó,” named “3 times 3,” although I don’t know the reason or motive for the name. This is relevant in this case because perhaps one can find there the antecedent for this “3of3.” Now that it is publicly known that the National Indigenous Congress has decided to form an Indigenous Governing Council and run the spokesperson of that Council as candidate for the Mexican presidency in 2018, the Cat-Dog felt obligated to present its own “3of3,” you know, not to be caught flatfooted and better a bird in the hand and sit down before you’re knocked off your feet.iii

1 of 3: Artificial Intelligence versus Zapatista Intelligence

“The political system has been hacked,” reads the news ticker across all of the screens in the Society of Power Artificial Intelligence complex.

The central Chat forum lights up and almost simultaneously various nicknames appear, all worse than ridiculous.

A dull conversation begins, but stops immediately when the nickname “Bossy” appears.

It’s not just any meeting. And I don’t mean because nobody is physically there. There aren’t even real avatars, just voices.

But every voice knows its place in the hierarchy. The less they speak the higher their rank.

At that moment a voice points out:

I don’t think there’s anything to worry about really. It’s clear that this will only further saturate the [political] centre. One more option for those who think they choose and decide. I don’t really see that there’s a problem, let them do it. And well, that geography was defined a long time ago. I suggest we move on to the next item…”

A voice interrupts, their rank evident in their dubious tone:

Pardon me. I think we should not underestimate what they intend. That should be clear from the fact that this wasn’t even contemplated among the thousands of scenarios that our systems predicted. In fact, we didn’t even realize it was happening until it appeared on the screen.

When we saw the warning blinking “The political system has been hacked,” we thought it was another hacker invasion and that there was no reason to worry. The firewalls would take care not only to neutralize the attack but to counterattack with a virus that would send the intruder back to smoke signal communication. But no, the system didn’t even warn of a virus or infiltration risk. It just indicated that there was something for which it didn’t even have a category of classification.”

Another voice, same volume, similar tone:

I agree. The proposal is too daring for them to be satisfied with a dispute over the centre. I was doing the calculations and I think they are aiming for those people who don’t even appear in our statistics. Those people want to destroy us.”

Several voices begin to murmur. The screens erupt with texts in characters illegible for those not familiar.

A voice inquires with authority:

What do you suggest?”

A vacuum,” says another voice, “that the media focus elsewhere. And that the well-behaved left attack them. There’s no lack of racism there, a mere insinuation will be enough for it to carry on with its own inertia. We’ve done it before, there won’t be a problem.”

Proceed,” the voice with authority states, and “offline” immediately appears on several screens.

Only the smallest voices continue chatting:

Well,” one says, “I think we’re going to have to deal with unpredictable surprises, like that of 1994.”

And what would you do?”

Hmm… remember that bad joke from a few years ago, that if you wanted to prepare for the future you should learn ChineseWell, I recommend that you start studying originary languages. You?

Well, we could try to find a bridge, some kind of communication.”

For what?”

Well, to negotiate decent conditions in prison. Because I don’t think these people are going to offer any kind of amnesty, not before or after the fact.”

And what do you suggest?”

A voice, until that point silent says:

I’d say to learn, but I think it’s too late for that.”

But I have a hypothesis,” the voice continued, “what happened is that the Artificial Intelligence that motors our central server functions with the information that we give it. Based on that data, the AI predicted all of the possible scenarios, their consequences, and the appropriate measures to take. What happened is that what they actually did wasn’t in any of our scenarios; the AI got upset and didn’t know what to do, simultaneously activating the anti-hacker and antivirus warnings and launching the reaction to the closest scenario on hand, which was SupMarcos as presidential candidate.”

Another voice interrupts: “But isn’t Marcos dead?

He is,” responds another, “but for the same reason.”

So they did it to us again, fucking Zapatistas.”

And there’s no way to fix this?”

Well I don’t know about you all but I’ve already reserved a flight to Miami.”

I now look with fear on the Indians, it never occurred to me that they would come to rule.”

Almost simultaneously, “Standby Mode” appears on the various screens.

The red lights are still on. The alert sirens are still going off, alarmed, hysterical.

Far away, some women of the colour of the earth that we are turn off their computer, disconnect the server cable, smile and converse in an incomprehensible language.

A little girl arrives and asks in Spanish: “Hey moms, I finished my homework, can I go play? See, we haven’t filled up the team yet but don’t worry ma, there will be more of us, sometimes it takes awhile but there will be more of us.”

The women leave, running and laughing behind the little girl. They run and laugh as if, in the end, there will be a tomorrow.

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

Note: Upon questioning the Cat-dog on why its “3of3” declaration only has one part and not 3 like its name suggests, it only growled and purred: “what’s missing is yet to come.

iAlso known, depending on the source, as Artemisia, white sage, silver herb, mugwort, or wormwood.

iiThe Sun Stone or the Stone of the Five Eras, is a late post-classic Mexica sculpture, often mistakenly referred to as the Aztec Calendar, consisting of a massive 24-ton basalt disc of Aztec carvings: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aztec_calendar_stone

iiiA mix of three metaphors in Spanish.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/13/alquimia-zapatista/

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The Arts And The Sciences In The History Of (Neo) Zapatismo

Words Of Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

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December 28, 2016.

Last night I spoke to you about the interplanetary upheaval that had given rise to the question “Why is this flower this colour? Why does it have this shape? Why does it have this scent?”

Ok, maybe I was exaggerating with the claim of “interplanetary.” I should have said the upheaval created by the question that young Rosita had put to Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés in the micro-cosmos Zapatismo had provoked.

Although I believe it is obvious, it doesn’t hurt to mention that the response that SubMoy gave to the young Zapatista woman was the same one that, I’m not sure, but probably, I’m imagining, has fuelled the advance of science since its very beginning: “I don’t know.”

Now I think that, certainly, the young woman knew what his response would be, but she also hoped that SubMoy would understand that, within the flower, there was a larger question.

We know now, because we are here in this meeting, that SubMoy knew that the response, “I don’t know” was not only insufficient, but also useless if it did not lead to other questions.

In a few minutes he is going to talk to you about what, as it were, is the context of the question…and about his response.

I am meant to speak to you briefly about the prehistory of this question and this response.

The arts and sciences prior to the uprising, within the eezeelen, had a very small universe and a brief history. Both the sciences and the arts had a purpose, a direction, and an imposed reason: war.

First in the guerrilla encampments, then in the barracks, and later in the communities, the arts were limited to music, poetry, and a little bit of drawing and painting, all with exclusively revolutionary messages. Of course, it was not unusual that soon songs of love and broken hearts, corridos, rancheras and even the occasional Juan Gabriel ballad would appear, but that was only clandestinely within our clandestinity.

Film or cinematography had its exclusive location, its VIP room, in our imagination. One of the insurgents narrated the same film to us over and over again, but he would find a way to change it a little bit each time he told it, or to combine it with the plots of other films. That was how we saw both the original and various “remakes” of “Enter the Dragon,” with Bruce Lee playing the only role, because the compa would spend hours explaining his movements and punches to us. This went on until, with a small electric source and a heavy and cumbersome 16mm projector, we saw a Vietnamese film that I think was called “Point of Contact” or something like that and which, of course, was only in its original language, and so we used our imaginations to add dialogue in Spanish, turning it into a different film than the original. I’m not sure, but I think you call this “artistic intervention.”

I call attention to this because I think that it was the first time that the sciences and the arts came together in a Zapatista encampment. And by the sciences, I’m not referring to the portable generator and the projector, but to the popcorn, which someone had kindly included when they sent the machine and the film.

Of course, we chowed down on the popcorn with the shout of “eat today or die tomorrow.” And the next day we nearly made the slogan come true: beginning in the wee hours of the morning, with collective diarrhoea, the entire insurgent battalion abandoned the spot as if a herd of wild boars had taken it over. We consoled ourselves afterward, imaging that it had been a case of bacteriological war. Moral of the story: be careful with your slogans.

Contact with the communities broadened this limited horizon: in the celebrations, the compas would set aside time for “the cultural program,” as they called it and “for the party.” And, in a program that got shorter over the years, they recited poetry, read thoughts aloud, and sang songs, all about struggle. Gradually, the duration of “the party” got longer and better. At that time they danced and sang whatever was in fashion at the time. Eventually what we call “pop music,” started to be displaced by music that was produced locally. First, they changed the words of the songs; later they wrote the music as well.

The dances changed: from dancing in two lines facing one another, to dancing in couples. Originally, in the dances in the communities, they used to dance in two lines: one was made up of women, and, in front of them there was another line made up of men. This had its own logic: with a clear line of women, the mothers could control their daughters, and they could see whether they escaped or if they had remained in the continuous repetition of “the Red Ribbon.” Later, little by little and after some very heated assemblies, they were allowed to dance in couples, although to the same rhythm. But the existence of the line was deep, and it was not uncommon to see a couple dancing, but with her looking to one side and him looking to the other side. Theatre, or what we called “sign,” happened very sporadically. The drawings and paintings of the periodic murals of the mountains moved to the communities, but the themes remained the same.

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If it seems like artistic activity was rather sparse, science was practically non-existent (because the book by Isaac Asimov, which the deceased carried in his backpack, doesn’t count as science). For contact with nature, we used the knowledges of the communities, which is to say, we limited ourselves to knowing facts, without knowing the explanation, or we explained those facts according to the stories and legends that circulated in the communities. For example, regarding the rainy season and the times for planting, there was empirical data that indicated whether it was going to rain or not, and this functioned statistically. In the encampments in the mountains, for example, when the mosquitos grew in number and aggressiveness, it meant that it was going to rain. Of course, we also had barometers and altimeters, but the mosquitos were more accurate. If someone had asked us at that time what the relationship was between the mosquitos and the rain, we would have responded, “I don’t know,” but we wouldn’t have gone any further, and what we did know was that it meant that it was time put up the plastic roofs or hurry to arrive at a community or at the encampment, but not time to do scientific research.

The most scientific thing that we did was calculate the force and trajectory of bullets and the resistance of different materials to those bullets (because we had to know how to protect ourselves from the gunshots of the enemy), align the scopes on the guns, fabricate explosives, and we did “terrestrial navigation” with the use of maps, altimeters and inclinometers, for which it was necessary to study the basics of trigonometry, algebra, and calculus. We wanted to learn how to use a sextant in order to orient ourselves at night, but we didn’t really get to learn how to use it. It was no longer necessary because the compas from the communities knew the land so well that we didn’t need any kind of machine to help us to get around. And they could already “predict” natural phenomena based on other phenomena, or on usos y costumbres.

The world was inhabited then by magical people, with the Sombrerón and Xpaquinté walking along the royal roads, trails, and misplaced paths, and sitting with us in the insurgent encampments in the mountains of southeast Mexico.

In medicine we applied two fundamental methods. Since we didn’t know about the existence of curing with quartz, biomagnetism, or other things of equal scientific rigour, we resorted to the power of suggestion or autosuggestion. Given that it was more than a few times that we didn’t have medicine, if we had a fever, we would repeat over and over: “I don’t have a fever, it’s all in my head.” This might make you laugh, but the deceased SupMarcos told us that he overcame various cases of salmonella with this method. “And did it work?” we would ask him. He responded with his customary modesty, “Well look at me, I’m alive and more beautiful than ever.” Ok, this was before we made him die.

When we did have medicine, we used the scientific method of “trial and error.” Which is to say that if someone became ill, we gave them one medicine, and if that didn’t work, we tried another, and we went on like that until we got it right or until the illness, surely tiring of our methodology, yielded.

Another scientific method for curing illness was called “the shotgun.” If someone had symptoms of an infection, we gave them a wide spectrum antibiotic. This almost always worked and, of course, chemically purified the patient, with just the bare minimum to survive until the next infection.

Years later, as the deceased would tell it, the medical treatments given were based in a simple statistic: in the mountains, x or y symptoms would be treated with x medicines in x% of cases; if in a given troop of x numbers of combatants, a certain number take ill with certain symptoms, there was x% of probability that they have the same illness.

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An anecdote from the mountains, also told by the deceased SupMarcos years ago, might serve to contrast with what we are showing you now: the deceased told us that in an exploratory trip into the depths of the Lacandon Jungle, a section of the insurgent infantry was far from the base encampment and found itself obliged to stay overnight with no blankets other than the treetops and the plant leaves; they made a fire to see if they could roast a water moccasin, which was the only thing that they had been able to hunt. At that time, SupMarcos wasn’t “sup” but Lieutenant Infantry Sergeant and he was in charge of this military unit.

As was customary at the time, when the night finally fell from the trees and sat among the insurgents, with the shadows descending to also sit alongside the fire, every kind of history, stories and legends which, among other things, fulfilled their role of mitigating hunger and drying clothes of the sweat and the rain that had drenched them. The then-Lieutenant Infantry Sergeant sat apart from the group and limited himself to listening to what the troops were discussing.

One of the new recruits had rubbed up against, as happens when one walks forgotten paths, the leaves of a plant called La’aj or Ortiga, which had caused hives in one of his hands and it had swelled up. Between hurting and itching, the recruit asked another combatant why this plant, which did so much damage, even existed. The veteran, feeling obliged to educate the new recruit, responded: “Look compa, of course I must inform you that only God and the leaf know why.”

Maybe this story is the reason why the deceased SupMarcos, when he was the Zapatista spokesperson, told and retold legends, stories, and anecdotes that referred more to the explanations of reality that linked to ancestral culture, like, for example, the stories of Old Antonio.

If at that time the deceased was a window to look through onto Zapatismo, and now it is Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés who does this, it is not only that the window has changed, but also what is seen and heard through this window has changed. Zapatismo today in the communities is quantitatively and qualitatively different, not just from what it was 30 years ago, but even from 10 or 12 years ago, which is the period in which the little girl who calls herself “Defensa Zapatista” was born.

With this I want to tell you that if the children that 25-30 years ago were born during the preparation for the uprising and those that were born 15-20 years ago were born in resistance and rebellion; those born in the last 10-15 years were born in a process of consolidated autonomy, with new characteristics, among which is the need for Science. Now Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, to whom I am ceding the word, will talk to you…

 

Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

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Good evening brothers and sisters, compañeros, compañeras.

The science that we Zapatistas are discussing here, the kind of science that we want is science for life. I don’t need to further explain what Sub Galeano was saying, about the fact that, yes, we also studied science when we were in the mountains, during the period of preparation. And when we finally applied this science, that is when we went to war, killing and dying, our compañeros and compañeras from the communities, the bases of support, told us that there was another way to make war without losing sight of the principles that we wanted. And so from that moment on something good happened. We men and women combatants recognized that something important exists within our compañeros and compañeras, within the communities. So we started to learn, to understand and to know that to be an army, any kind of army, whether an army of the rich or of the poor who struggle, is to be exclusive, because not all men, women, and children can fight in the army. And our compañeros and compañeras proposed that we fight together in order to achieve what we wanted. And they told us that in order to fight together, the weapon of struggle is resistance and rebellion.

And so then that meant that if we didn’t want the bad government, the bad system, we had to reject all of the forms through which they deceived us, and so we, the combatants, the insurgents, we learned how this was done. We learned how to do this. And so we men and women began to understand how to fight together, how the communities themselves lived and still live today in common, in collective. In the face of that the system, now the bad government, tries to divide the communities, but it hasn’t been able to do so. The communities themselves understood, for example, that even though in some communities there are various political parties, or various religions, they are still a community. And so this community has a piece of their land invaded by another community, this invaded community immediately comes together, which is to say they forget that they are divided in various political parties or religions. And that is how it works where they cannot erase what it means to be in common, to be in community.

And so then we started to understand what they were saying, what our compañero and compañera bases of support were saying to us, which was that we had to fight together. And so it ended up being much much better than what we had imagined because when we did that it meant that not only the combatants fought, everyone did. And so we, the combatants began to work together with the communities and what happened was that in this struggle, in this organization, we began creating the very forms that we were seeking. That is to say that the compañeras and compañeros, began at that time to put into practice that which they were seeking.

And so, with their autonomy, with the autonomous government of our compañeros and compañeras, something began that we had not yet known about during our time of clandestinity, during our preparation. So then we started to understand this, which was a new way of thinking about change, and this is what we have done during these 23 years that we are self-governing with our communities. The truth is that since that time we don’t have as many deaths, or bullets, or as many people injured, tortured, or disappeared as we did at first, in 1994. With these 23 years, what our compañeros and compañeras have shown us is another way to make war on the system, where you don’t die and you don’t kill. But to do this, you need organization, you need agreement, you need work, you need to struggle, and you need practice.

Now we see that with this resistance and rebellion as our weapons of struggle, the system has been unable to do anything against our compañeros and compañeras. The system has not been successful at anything that it has tried to do to us. Why? Because the compañeras and the compañeros already live in what they have for 23 years been constructing. As Sub Galeano put it, we ourselves were surprised, because we had never even dreamt this, but if we didn’t see it, it is because it is the compañeros and the compañeras that have managed to do it, through their thinking, by figuring out what they need and thinking about what to do about it. They have managed to do something to make things better and to take steps for the good of our peoples.

And so now these same compañeras and compañeros can confirm this themselves. And of course their mothers and fathers support them, because they had not seen this before. For example there are compañeras who work as, I’m not sure what you call it, the ones who help the doctors by passing them the tools that they need, like mechanics assistants who are like, here are your clamps, here is your hammer, here is your marro, as they call it. Well the compañeras are now working as assistants to doctors in order to pass them the tools that they need while they are doing medical surgeries. They know how to use the ultrasound machines, and because the doctors have taught them how, then can even make diagnoses with these machines. They know how to read the images or the photos that come from the ultrasound machine, and it is the same thing with many other medical devices, which the compañeras and compañeros already know how to use – devices used by dentists, devices for pap smears, and many other things related to the area of health and medical labs.

We never imagined that this would be possible, and now we think back and say, would we have been able to build this with 23 years of bullets? And our response is that with 23 years of bullets we would not be here speaking to you now, brothers, sisters, compañeros, compañeras, scientists. If we had had 23 years of bullets, we would not have even known you. But thanks to their way of seeing, that of our compañeros and compañeras, we are here speaking with you. That is how significant the advances of our compañeros and compañeras were. Of course, we had to separate ourselves from the mode of exploitation, from capitalism, or from the bad government in order to create this freedom that they imagined, that we have achieved, and in order to begin to build our way of understanding it.

And that is how now they have their education, their Agroecology, their community radio, their own exchange of experiences. Our compañeras and compañeros have their own “sharing,” because what they want is life. Just like in the example that Sub Galeano gave from the stories shared by the compañeros of how to stop a baby’s death, as explained in one of the questions posed to the scientists about a baby’s placenta –they boil the placenta in water until they manage to stabilize the life of the baby. But this knowledge comes from struggle, because there is no study that shows whether this is the best way to save the baby.

And so there are many generations that have moved this learning forward. This is what Sub Galeano was saying when he was talking about how the flower is to blame, which is that Zapatista Autonomous Education has advanced to such an extent that the young women and men see that they have already learned so much. And so what happened is that the son of one of the compas, one of the Tercios Compas, started to ask questions. He told his father that he had already finished his primary school, his first level as the compañeros in the communities call it. He said to his father, “dad I already finished my school, but I’m going to continue because I want to learn more.” And so the Tercio Compa who is his father responded, son, let me see how you can, because the second level, or secondary school as they call it, is still being planned, because we want to make sure that in the education that we want we don’t learn things that aren’t useful or that we don’t need, and we are still in the process of thinking about what we should learn and what it will be useful for. And so the young man, who was only 13 or 14 years old said: “Dad, don’t think about sending me there to Cideci, because in Cideci all you learn is how to make clothes, make shoes, and other things. It is better for us to do it here in the Caracol, it’s just that we haven’t decided to do that yet.” And so the young man continued, “what I want to learn is what substance is in the estafiate and what it can cure.” And so the compa, he’s over there with his son, wanted me to tell him when and where he could learn this, and so I told him, well, let me see, I don’t know.

And so I was really surprised, which is a good thing. And even I thought, is it even possible to learn this? And so I was talking to Sub Galeano and he said, well, this has to do with the scientists, with science, with those who study science and are scientists. And so what we are seeing is that the generations now and those that are growing up are already seeing the need to know new things. And the good thing is that they are thinking, because the young man that I was telling you about is in the communities that have the “sharing” as we call it, where they talk about the three areas, or where the compañeros and compañeras go to exchange their experiences about medicinal plants, midwifery, and bonesetting, and that is where this young man heard about this estafiate and other plants that they say cure certain things and not others, right? But what they don’t know there is exactly what it is, what substances the plants have that do the curing.

And so the very practices that they have, their very knowledges that the compañeras and the compañeros in the communities have open the way to other experiences, but they simultaneously open up other needs, the desire to learn more, and so on. And so I think that in listening to what is being put forth here among us, maybe then you will come here to put it into practice with the communities, in collective, it would make the compañeros and compañeras really happy to take advantage of this knowledge because with the little bit that they know, they are doing, well…as I told you, that is what they are doing, what the compañeros and compañeras are building others can see, the brothers and sisters who aren’t Zapatistas. That is, for example, in the hospitals that the compañeros have, in the autonomous hospitals, there are more partidista brothers and sisters who are operated on than there are Zapatistas. And so that is where non-Zapatista people, partidistas as we call them, see that what the Zapatistas are doing is better. They even say that what the Zapatistas are doing is much better. But it isn’t just that the compañeras and compañeros help them to have somewhat better health, but they also help to orient them, or to do politics, to explain to them why they are being deceived, or why they are manipulated, or why they are dominated.

And so if there had been a little bit more support from science, then there would have been more advances among the compañeros and compañeras. So we wanted to tell you that maybe we really should start this, here and now with our compañeros and compañeras in the communities. We could see if they could have classes, workshops, practical things, because the compañeros see that this stuff is so interesting and necessary in order to confront the capitalist hydra. They see that we have to improve health, and we have to improve nutrition, but for this we need to learn, we need science.

The compañeros and compañeras do it, but as we have already said many times, it is through usos y costumbres, or that is to say that they have the proof that if you plant corn you will see that it grows. The same goes for the squash, or the sweet potatoes. You see how they will grow, because there is no scientific study about what is going to grow on this land, or about which plant will grow right here in this location. And living like this has caused a lot of suffering, but if you saw that there is a science, a laboratory for example, then it would be different, it wouldn’t be a question of trying stuff out because there would be a scientific study that could tell us that Mother Earth is missing this or that, or that this thing is what will grow well here, and so on.

And so you see, that is how the compañeras and compañeros do their studies as well, and where what we are here for can be born. The truth is that this thing about the estafiate that the young man was saying that he wanted to know about what the substance was, we also saw there that the other Zapatista Autonomous Schools had other needs so that they could provide what the young people want to learn.

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And so, brothers, sisters, compañeros, compañeras, together with the compañeros and compañeros we invite you to join us in making a collective, because we Zapatistas move in collective, and we can later show the people of Mexico that the people themselves can create a way of life. We can show them that we don’t need anyone who manipulates us and our wealth, or who expropriates what belongs to the people. Rather, we as peoples need to come together – the originary peoples with the science of the scientists and the science of the artists. We can show them that together we can imagine or construct, or practice and demonstrate for ourselves what we can do as compañero and compañera bases of support. We can show them that with more and more of your own strength, your own resistance, and your own thinking to see and create, imagine, that even though you may not know how to read and write, and even though you may not speak Spanish very well, but in your deeds you have, as we say here, placed the system, the bad government of Mexico, aside. We are practicing what we think and what we believe, but we feel alone because not only are we indigenous people of Mexico exploited, but the brothers and sisters in the countryside and the city are as well. But for this we need the Sciences, we need a way to build the new world.

We feel the need for this. It is just as the young man was saying, that being a young man he is thinking about what he wants to know, and he wants to know why the substance in the estafiate is so important, because it is much discussed in collective, in the “sharing” that the compañeras and compañeros have. And so this is what we want to propose to you – that perhaps we should unite in order to create another way of seeing, another way of thinking and imagining how we can create change that is more than simply a change in name or in colour.

That is what we wanted to share compañeros and compañeras, brothers and sisters.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés       Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/28/las-artes-y-las-ciencias-en-la-historia-del-neo-zapatismo/

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Joint Pronouncement From The CNI And The EZLN For The Freedom Of Our Mapuche Sister Machi Francisca Lincolao Huircapan

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To the Mapuche People:
To the Chilean People:
To the International Sixth:
To the Media:

We peoples, nations, and tribes of the National Indigenous Congress send a fraternal greeting of solidarity to Machi Francisca Lincolao Huircapan, of the Mapuche People, in Chile, imprisoned since March 30, 2016. We know that compañera Machi Francisca is on a hunger strike to demand the justice that the bad government of Chile has denied her by keeping her imprisoned for the crime of continuing to defend the natural resources, sacred places, and cultural rights of her people. They are letting her health deteriorate to the point that it threatens the life of the compañera, whose state of health is summarily delicate.

We denounce the fact that while the Chilean government represses Machi Francisca, they blatantly protect transnational capitalists and bosses such as the landlord Alejandro Taldriz, with his illegal logging that the corrupt state works to protect.

The National Indigenous Congress and the EZLN demand:

  1. The immediate release of compañera Machi Francisca Lincolao Huircapan.
  2. An end to the repression against the dignified Mapuche people and the revocation of the racist and repressive Anti-terrorist Law that is meant to criminalize the territorial defence of the Chilean Originary Peoples.
  3. Absolute respect for the Mapuche territory.

January 2017

For the Full Reconstitution of our Peoples
Never again a Mexico without us

NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS
ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/14/joint-pronouncement-from-the-cni-and-the-ezln-for-the-freedom-of-our-mapuche-sister-machi-francisca-lincolao-huircapan/

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EZLN/CNI: And The Earth Trembled! A Report From The Epicentre

Declaration of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress

 

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To the Originary Peoples of Mexico:

To Civil Society of Mexico and the World:

To the National and International Sixth:

To the Free Media:

Brothers and Sisters:

This is the time of the originary peoples, the time for us to replant and rebuild ourselves. It is time to go on the offensive and this is the agreement that we have laid out for how to do so, from our perspective as individuals, as communities, as originary peoples, and as the National Indigenous Congress [CNI]. It is time for dignity to govern this country and this world and for democracy, liberty, and justice to flourish in its step.

We are announcing here that during the second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress we meticulously analyzed the results of the consultation process that we held among our peoples during the months of October, November, and December of 2016. In that process, we issued agreements from communal, ejidal, collective, municipal, inter-municipal and regional assemblies in all of the ways, forms, and languages that represent our peoples in the geography of this country, once again bringing us to understand and confront, with dignity and rebellion, the situation that we face in our country and the world.

We appreciate the messages of support, hope, and solidarity that came from intellectuals, collectives, and peoples in response to our proposal entitled “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core,” which we made public during the first phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress. We also acknowledge the critical voices, many of them making fundamentally racist arguments, that expressed indignant and contemptuous rage at the idea that an indigenous woman would aspire not only to contend for presidential election, but would propose to truly change, from below, this broken country.

To all of them, we say that the earth indeed has trembled, and we along with her, and that we intend to shake the conscience of the entire nation, and that, in fact, we intend for indignation, resistance and rebellion to be present as an option on the electoral ballots of 2018. But we also say that it is not at all our intention to compete with the political parties or with the political class who still owe this country so much. They owe us for every death, disappearance, and imprisonment, and every dispossession, repression, and discrimination. Do not mistake our intentions. We do not plan to compete against them, because we are not the same as they are. Unlike them, we are not filled with lies and perverse words. We are instead the collective word of below and to the left, that which shakes the world and makes it tremble with epicentres of autonomy, and which makes us so proudly different from them that:

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  1. While the country is submerged in fear and terror born from the thousands of dead and disappeared, in the municipalities of the mountains and the coast of Guerrero our peoples have created conditions of real security and justice. In Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, the Nahua people have united with other indigenous communities to ensure that security remains in the hands of the people. The epicentre of the resistance there is the communal assembly of Ostula, the guarantor of the ethic of a movement that has already permeated the municipalities of Aquila, Coahuayana, Chinicuila, and Coalcomán. In the Purépecha plateau, the community of Cherán has demonstrated that by organizing to eliminate the politicians from their bad government structure and by exercising their own forms of security and government they could not only construct justice, but also, as in other geographies across this country, they showed that only from below, from rebellion, can a new social pact be constructed that is autonomous and just. And we have not and will not stop constructing from below the truth and justice denied to the 43 disappeared students from the teacher’s college of Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, the 3 student compañeros who were murdered, and their compañeros who were injured, all by the Mexican narco-government and its repressive forces. Meanwhile, all levels of the bad governments criminalize social struggle and resistance and rebellion, persecuting, accusing, disappearing, imprisoning, and murdering the men and women who struggle for just causes.
  2. While destruction reaches every corner of the country, knowing no limits and distancing people from their land and from that which is sacred, the Wixárika people, together with the committees in defense of life and water from the Potosino altiplano, have shown that they can defend a territory and their environment and can create an equilibrium based in an identification with nature, with a sacred vision that recreates, every day, the ancestral links with life, land, the sun, and the ancestors, reaching across 7 municipalities in the sacred ceremonial territory of Wirikuta in San Luis Potosí.
  3. While the bad governments deform State policies on education, placing education at the service of capitalist corporations such that it ceases to be a right, the originary peoples create primary schools, secondary schools, high schools and universities with their own educational systems, based in the protection of our mother earth, in defense of territory, in production, in the sciences, in the arts, and in our languages. Despite the fact that the majority of these processes grow without the support of any level of the bad government, these institutions are meant to serve everyone.
  4. Meanwhile, the paid media – spokespeople for those who prostitute every one of the words that they circulate and fool the people in the country and the city so that they don’t wake from their slumber – criminalize those who think and defend what is theirs, making them out to be delinquents, vandals, and misfits, while those who benefit from ignorance and alienation are the ones with high social status. Those who oppress, repress, exploit and dispossess are always made out to be the good guys, the ones who deserve to be respected and allowed to govern so that they can serve themselves. While all of this is happening, the communities have made their own media, creating ideas in different ways so that conscience cannot be overshadowed by the lies that the capitalists impose, and instead using them to strengthen organization from below, where every true word is born.
  5. While the representative “democracy” of the political parties has been converted into a parody of the popular will, where votes are bought and sold like any other commodity and poverty is used to manipulate people so that the capitalists can maintain the division between the people of the countryside and the city, the originary peoples continue to care for and strengthen their forms of consensus and to cultivate assemblies as organs of government where through the voice of everyone together profoundly democratic agreements are made, across entire regions, through assemblies that articulate with agreements of other assemblies, which themselves emerge from the profound will of each family.
  6. While the governments impose their decisions to benefit the few, supplanting the popular will of the people and criminalizing and repressing whoever opposes their projects of death which they impose at the cost of the blood of our peoples—such as the New Airport of Mexico City, pretending to consult them while actually imposing death—we originary peoples have consistent ways and forms for free, prior and informed consent, however small or large that may be.
  7. While the bad governments hand energy sovereignty over to foreign interests through privatization, and the high cost of gasoline reveals the face of capitalism which in fact only opens a road toward inequality and the rebellious response of the indigenous and non-indigenous peoples of Mexico, the powerful can neither hide nor silence this rebellion. We peoples unite and fight to stop the destruction of our territories through fracking, wind farms, mining, oil wells, and gas and oil pipelines in the states of Veracruz, Sonora, Sinaloa, Baja California, Morelos, Oaxaca, Yucatán and the entire national territory.
  8. While the bad governments impose their toxic and genetically modified food on consumers across the countryside and in the cities, the Mayan people continue their indefatigable struggle to stop the planting of genetically modified seed on the Yucatan peninsula and across the country in order to conserve the ancestral genetic wealth that also symbolizes our life and collective organization and is the basis for our spirituality.
  9. While the political class only destroys and makes empty promises, we peoples build, not only in order to govern but also in order to exist with autonomy and self-determination.

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Our resistances and rebellions constitute the power of below. We don’t offer empty promises or actions, but rather real processes for radical transformation where everyone participates and which are tangible in the diverse and enormous indigenous geographies of this nation. This is why, as the National Indigenous Congress, which brings together 43 peoples of this country in this Fifth Congress, WE AGREE to name an Indigenous Governing Council with men and women representatives from each one of the peoples, tribes, and nations that make up the CNI. This council proposes to govern this country. It will have an indigenous woman from the CNI as its spokesperson, which is to say a woman who has indigenous blood and who knows her culture, and this indigenous woman spokesperson from the CNI will be an independent candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections. 

That is why we, the CNI, as the Home for All Indigenous Peoples, are also the principles that configure the ethic of our struggle. In these principles there is room for all of the originary peoples of this country. Those principles that house the Indigenous Governing Council are:

To obey, not command

To represent, not supplant

To serve others, not serve oneself

To convince, not defeat

To go below, not above

To propose, not impose

To construct, not destroy

This is what we have invented and reinvented, not simply because we want to, but because it is the only way that we have to continue existing – by following new paths forged from the collective memory of our own forms of organization and that are the product of resistance and rebellion, in order to confront, every day, the war that has not ended and yet has not been able to do away with us. Using these forms it has not only been possible for us to build a path toward the full reconstitution of our peoples, but also toward new civilizational forms. In other words, it has been possible to build collective hope that is transformed into communities, municipalities, regions, states, and which is able to respond precisely to the real problems that the country is facing, far away from the political class and their corruption.

From this Fifth National Indigenous Congress, we call on the originary peoples of this country, the collectives of the Sixth, the workers, the coalitions and committees who struggle in the countryside and the city, the students, intellectuals, the artists, and scientists, the elements of civil society that are not organized, as well as all good-hearted people to close ranks and go on the offensive. We call on you to dismantle the power of above and to reconstitute ourselves now from below and to the left, not only as peoples but as a country. We make a call to come together in a single organization where dignity will be our final word and our first action. We call on all of you to organize with us to stop this war, and to not be afraid to build ourselves and sow our seeds on the ruins left by capitalism.

This is what humanity and our mother earth demand of us. It is the time for rebellious dignity. We will make this a material reality by convoking a constituent assembly of the Indigenous Governing Council for Mexico in the month of May 2017. From there we will build bridges toward the compañeros and compañeras of civil society, the media, and the originary peoples in order to make the earth tremble at its core, to overcome fear and recuperate what belongs to humanity, what belongs to the earth and what belongs to the peoples. We do this so that we can recuperate the territories that have been invaded or destroyed, so that the disappeared of this country can be returned, so that all political prisoners are freed, so that there can be truth and justice for all of those who have been murdered, so that there can be dignity for the countryside and the city. That is, have no doubt, we are going for everything, because we know this might be the last opportunity we have as originary peoples and as Mexican society to peacefully and radically change our forms of government, making dignity the epicenter of a new world.

From Oventik, Zapatista Territory, Chiapas, Mexico

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/02/y-retemblo-informe-desde-el-epicentro/

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Words Of The EZLN At The Closing Ceremony Of The Second Stage Of The Fifth Congress Of The National Indigenous Congress

 

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Enlace Zapatista version

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO.

JANUARY 1, 2017

Sisters and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress:

Compañeras, compañeros and compañeroas of the national and international Sixth:

Peoples of Mexico and the world:

Twenty-three years ago we rose up in arms against oblivion.

Our indignation and desperation compelled us to be willing to die in order to live.

To live the only way that’s worth living: with freedom, justice, and democracy.

The Mexican people saw us and spoke to us: they told us that our struggle and our demands are just, but that they are opposed to violence.

As the inhumane conditions of our life and death became known, people agreed that the causes of our uprising were just, but they questioned our way of enacting our dissent.

Today, the conditions of the Mexican people in the countryside and in the city are worse than they were 23 years ago.

Poverty, desperation, death, and destruction are not only wrought on the people who originally populated this land.

Now, misfortune finds everyone.

The crisis also affects those who believed that they were safe and who imagined that the nightmare was only meant for those who live and die below.

Governments come and go, under different colors and flags, and all that they do is make things worse.

Their policies only bring misery, destruction, and death to greater and greater numbers of people.

Now our sisters and brothers in the organizations, barrios, nations, tribes, and originary peoples, organized in the National Indigenous Congress have decided to scream, “ENOUGH!”

They have decided that they will no longer allow the destruction of our country to continue.

They have decided not to allow the peoples and their history to die from the sickness that is the capitalist system; a system that exploits, dispossesses, represses and devalues human beings and nature all over the world.

The National Indigenous Congress has decided to fight to heal our land and our skies, and has decided to do it through civil and peaceful means.

Their causes are just, undeniably so.

Who will now question the path they have chosen and to which they are calling all of us, all women, all men, all others [todoas]?

If they are not respected, if they are not saluted, if they are not supported in their struggle and the path they follow, what message is society sending? What paths will be left for indignation?

Twenty-three years ago we began our uprising, but our path was exclusionary: everyone could not participate.

Now, the National Indigenous Congress is calling us to a struggle in which everyone can participate, no matter their age, colour, size, race, religion, language, salary, knowledge, physical strength, culture, or sexual preference.

Those who live, struggle and die in the countryside and the city now have a path for struggle where they can join together with other women and men.

The National Indigenous Congress is calling and inviting us to a struggle for life with freedom, justice, democracy, and dignity.

Who dares to say that this struggle is a bad one?

It’s time for working people, together with the originary peoples, under the banner of the National Indigenous Congress, which itself is the banner of the originary peoples, to join together in this struggle – a struggle for people who have nothing but pain, rage and desperation.

Now is the time of all people, from the countryside and the city.

That’s what the National Indigenous Congress is telling us.

It’s telling us: enough waiting for other women and men who want to tell us what to do and how to do it; who want to boss us around, who want to manage us, who want to trick us with promises and bold-faced lies.

It’s telling us that every person, wherever they are, in their own way, at their own pace, should be in charge of him or herself; that communities should manage themselves. No more lies, no more tricks, no more politicians who only see their work in the government as an opportunity to steal, to betray, and to sell out.

It’s telling us that we have to fight for truth and justice.

It’s telling us that we have to fight for democracy, which is another way of saying that the people themselves are in charge.

It’s telling us that we have to fight for freedom.

The National Indigenous Congress is made up of wise women and wise men.

They’ve been resisting and fighting for life for centuries.

They know about resistance. They know about rebellion. They know about struggle. They know about life.

They know who is responsible for the pain that beats down every woman and man, everywhere, all the time.

Because of this fight that begins today, the National Indigenous Congress will be attacked. It will be insulted. There will be attempts to divide it, and to buy it off.

Every effort will be made to make them give up, sell out, give in.

But those efforts will not succeed.

We have known one another personally for more than twenty years, for more than 500 years we have known one another in destruction, in death, in disdain, in theft, in exploitation, in history.

The CNI’s strength, conviction, and commitment does not come from individual men and women.

It comes from the organizations, neighbourhoods, nations, tribes and originary peoples in which they were born and in which they matured.

We Zapatistas prepared ourselves for ten years to begin our struggle on January 1 twenty-three years ago.

The National Indigenous Congress prepared for twenty years to arrive at this day and to show us a good path forward.

Whether or not we follow will the decision of each person.

The National Indigenous Congress is going to speak the truth and listen closely.

The struggle of the National Indigenous Congress is no game.

They have told us that this time, they want everything, for every woman and every man.

And that means that:

They want respect for human rights.

They want the release of all political prisoners.

They want all disappeared people to be given back alive.

They want justice for those who have been murdered.

They want truth and justice for the 46 missing from Ayotzinapa.

They want support for peasants and respect for mother earth.

They want dignified housing for all those from below.

They want sufficient food for all those who are defenceless.

They want dignified work and a just salary for the workers in the countryside and the city.

They want complete and free medical care for all workers.

They want free, secular, scientific education.

They want land to belong to those who work it.

They want the factories to belong to the workers.

They want the stores and banks to belong to the employees.

They want respect for street vendors, and for small and medium-sized businesses.

They want public and commercial transportation to belong to those who drive the vehicles.

They want the countryside to belong to the campesinos.

They want the city to belong to its inhabitants.

They want the territory to belong to the originary peoples.

They want autonomy.

They want self-organization.

They want respect for all forms of life.

They want the arts and sciences.

They want freedom of thought, of work, and of creation.

They want freedom, justice and democracy for the Mexico of below.

That is what they’re after.

Each person can decide whether that fight is good, whether that idea is good, whether to respond or not to the call.

As the Zapatista women and men that we are, we say: yes, we’re with you. Yes, we’re with the National Indigenous Congress.

We will find ways to support them with all of our strength.

We will support you because the fight you are proposing, sisters and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress, is perhaps the final opportunity to stop this land and these skies from disappearing through destruction and death.

So all we have to say to you is:

Listen to your heart, to the pain and the rage that exist in all corners of this country.

Walk, and may the earth tremble at its core with your steps.

May these Mexican soils be astonished.

May the skies look upon you with surprise and admiration.

May the peoples of the world learn and take heart from your decision and your conviction.

And above all, regardless of whatever may happen and of everything that stands against you, even if they attack you in every possible way, whatever it takes: don’t give up, don’t sell out, don’t give in.

FREEDOM!

JUSTICE!

DEMOCRACY!

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

In the name of the women, men, children and elders of the EZLN.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico, January 2017

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/01/palabras-del-ezln-en-la-clausura-de-la-segunda-etapa-del-quinto-congreso-del-cni/

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“The Flower Is To Blame”

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December 27, 2016

“Earlier this year, on February 30, 2016, the Swedish electronic science magazine, River’s Scientist Research Institute, published a study that may revolutionize science and its social applications.

A group of scientists, led by Swedish doctors Stod Sverderg, Kurt Wallander, and Stellan Skarsgard, presented a complex, multidisciplinary analysis that arrived at the following provocative conclusion: There exists a direct correlation between the increase in quantity and quality of feminist movements, and the decrease in birth rates.

Combining statistical methods, embryology, molecular biology, genetics, and analytical behaviour, the scientists concluded that the rise in the diversity of feminism’s belligerence provokes libido inhibitors in males, and thus reduces the rate of frequency of sexual reproduction.

But there’s more. Laboratory analyses established that male spermatozoa exposed to feminist activism are weaker than unexposed spermatozoa. Known as astebizisoermia, or “lazy spermatozoa” syndrome, it is more prevalent in male populations where feminism occupies a protagonist role in social organization. According to the published article, Dr. Everet Bacstrom of the Rainn Wilson Institute, headquartered in London, tested the investigation’s theory with a sample of European, WASP, middle class males and reached the same conclusion.

In an interview with the publication, European feminist activists Chloë Sevigny and Sarah Linden said that the study was merely a dirty example of “patriarchal scientism.”

Meanwhile, the international advisory centre for governments, Odenkirk Associated, declared through its spokespersons, James Gordon and Harvey Bullock, that it recommended that governments in the First World “inhibit the activism and belligerence of feminist groups” so that national birth rates may increase in developed countries. At the same time, they recommended that the governments of Third World countries, particularly in Africa and Latin America, encourage the participation of feminist groups, especially in marginalized zones so that birth rates might decline in those areas, preventing more general social disturbances.

Consulted on the matter, advisors of the European Economic Community, Stella Gibson and Gillian Anderson, refused to confirm or deny that the study is to become the basis for a new international policy between Europe and the Third World.”

Well, what I’ve just read to you is an example of the new scientific journalism. Although it is completely my own writing, it is our gift to you all for the December holidays. Take it and conduct an experiment: publish it.

Don’t appeal to the written press. With the exception of the author and a diminishing number of people, nobody reads newspapers and magazines to inform themselves. Come on, not even those who write for these places read them. They only look at whatever comments are made about their texts on social media. In fact, it is social media that dictates to them which topics they should cover. Just a couple of months ago, I read a “thought leader” and “expert analyst” ask their “followers” which topic they should cover in their column: “fav, if on the female candidate of the National Indigenistic Congress” (I’m pretty sure that’s how they put it), “rt if on the great comrade and leader, sun of our way forward, and illustrious builder of the future.” I don’t need to tell you that the rt’s won.

No, if you want to have some “media resonance,” then appeal directly as a primary source to social media.

Find one of those social media stars, for example, an adolescent “twitstar” with hundreds of thousands of followers. Someone constantly preoccupied with giving their fans the type of material that promotes critical tolerance, rational debate, and profound reflection (things that, clearly, are found in abundance in the stimulating environment that is social media). Someone like, for example, John M. Ackerman (253,000 followers). Yes, I know that I said it should be an adolescent, and yes, Mr. John Ackerman is a little long in the tooth, but I’m referring to mental age so bear with me.

After that, “follow” him and make sure he doesn’t block you. This is very easy; you don’t need to write anything that is even half intelligible. It’s enough to fill your timeline with retweets of all the grand, iron truths that emanate from the keyboard of said person.

Okay, now you only need to somehow get this “influencer” to briefly reference the scientific study, and his hundreds of millions of followers will automatically fave or retweet it.

This is how the “scientific” study will become a hit. It will become the basis for future analyses, colloquia, round tables, and it will find entry into the bloated library of conspiracy theories.

No, you won’t need to worry about anyone taking the time to critically analyze the supposedly scientific article and notice the following:

.- February does not have 30 days.

.- “River” is a British police drama where the main character, John River, is played by the Swedish actor Stellan John Skarsgård.

.- Stod Sverderg and Kurt Wallander are characters in the Swedish police TV series “Wallander.”

.- Everet Backstrom is the name of the main character on a detective TV comedy-drama called “Backstrom,” played by Rainn Wilson.

.- Chloë Sevigny is the name of the actress who plays Catherine Jensen in the Danish TV crime drama “Those Who Kill”

.- Sarah Linden is the name of the main character in the U.S. police TV series “The Killing,” played by Mireille Enos.

.- Bob Odenkirk is the name of the lead actor in the series “Better Call Saul,” which they say is the prequel to “Breaking Bad.”

.- James Gordon and Harvey Bullock are characters in the show “Gotham”

.- The European Economic Community no longer exists. It was disbanded in 2009 to make way for the European Union.

.- And Stella Gibson and Gillian Anderson are the main character and its actress, respectively, in the show “The Fall.”

Here, please forgive me if my English pronunciation is pretty off from international scientific standards, and even sounds like that of a “wet back” of the 1940s, but solidarity with Latino emigrants who currently suffer the Trump nightmare takes surprising, not always obvious paths. In any case, those who are reading rather than listening to these words have no devotion to the horror that is being lived north of the Rio Bravo.

Sure, it would have sufficed for any of you to Google these primary references to realize that the ostensibly “scientific study” described above is a complete fraud.

-*-

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Does science have to worry about these frauds, which reduce scientific activity to a caricature for massive consumption?

Do you all think that only religion and creationism deserve to be challenged? Religion is religion—it doesn’t pretend to be scientific. On the other hand, pseudoscience is a major problem. If you think that you’re in the era of Enlightenment, and you’re happy with ridiculing religious paradigms and staging livestreamed popularity contests where atheists battle believers, then it might be because you haven’t noticed the gaping hole that exists below the waterline of the “ship of science.”

The pseudosciences, or false sciences, not only keep on winning, they are becoming acceptable explanations of reality.

If you don’t believe me, try undergoing some quartz-based bioenergetic balancing therapy. Or enrol in a course on “The Theory of Science” in a department of higher learning at a respectable university, and allow yourself the surprise to learn that you’ll need to engage with material under the banner of “Scientific Philosophy” (the oxymoron that lives on from even before the time of Prometheus, Sisyphus, and Theseus).

Believe it or not, the dark times on the horizon now take science from the court dock to the social gallows.

I’ll return to this point in greater depth on another occasion.

For now, this applies to this case, or thing, depending, as you all need to confront the invasion of these false sciences. We Zapatistas confront that, and several other things.

-*-

In our participation in yesterday’s first general session, I presented a few of the questions prepared by my compañeras and compañeros, who have been selected to be your students.

Those are not my questions. If they were mine, they would have sounded different. They would have been these types of questions: What relationship is there between squash soup and cognitive deficiency? What are the nutritious qualities of that wondrous food that is referred to as pecan ice cream? Are injections a pseudoscientific form of torture? Etcetera.

So the only thing I did with my compas’ questions is group them together. I removed some of them because we imagined they would be answered in the presentations, as well as for another reason which, if there’s time, I will discuss.

These 200 compañeras and compañeros, 100 women and 100 men, were selected to attend—that is to say, to respond to collectives. Their presence here is not for their personal interest or benefit. When they leave here, they will each need to return to their collective and describe what this encounter was all about, what they learned or what they didn’t, what they understood or what they didn’t. In other words, they are obligated to socialize knowledge. This is the reason why you see these compas writing and writing in their notebooks, consulting each other with a fervour I doubt you would find in your university’s student body.

What I want to say here is that, although it appears that you are all confronted by 200 masks, in reality, your words will reach tens of thousands of indigenous people who speak different native languages.

Yeah, it is a little scary. Or a lot, depending.

The interest in science inside the Zapatista communities is legitimate, it is real. But it is relatively new; it has not always been this way. It relates to one of the transformations that our struggle has undergone: our process of constructing our autonomy. That is, our liberty.

This will be elaborated on by the compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés in tomorrow morning’s session. For now, let me just take a moment to provide you with some details:

  1. – The indigenous Zapatista communities represented here by these 200 transgressors of the indigenous stereotype that reigns in both the institutional right and left, do not conceive of this encounter as a single event. Please understand: this is not a fleeting moment. They, the Zapatista people, hope that this encounter becomes the beginning of a stable and enduring relationship. They hope to keep in touch with you and maintain an ongoing exchange. Or as the people say, “Let this time be neither the first nor the last.”
  2. – The ways of our ways: So that you don’t become frustrated and so that you understand why there aren’t any questions at the end of each presentation, allow me to explain what our method is as students.

We do not raise individual problems. As a student body, we continue to function as a collective. Everyone takes notes, then after the class or the lecture, the collective gets together and they complete their notes by taking down everybody else’s. This way, if a student had become distracted or understood things differently, the rest can help complete that student’s notes or clarify things for him or her. For example, in yesterday’s presentation, the one written by the physicist and read to us by the doctor, there’s a part where he points out that someone could say that we have no scientific advancements compared to the developed countries because in Mexico we are Indians. A Zapatista compa became really upset at that because, according to him, the physicist was criticizing us for being the indigenous people that we are, and blaming us for the lack of scientific advancement in our country. In the collective recap, they cleared up that the physicist wasn’t saying that, and that he was instead criticizing those who do say that.

With questions, the same thing happens. First the students ask their questions amongst each other. This way, a good part of the questions are answered because the problem was that they didn’t hear, or that they didn’t take down the notes well, or that they didn’t understand what was being said. Another part of their questions, they answer amongst themselves. And then what are left are the questions that truly are collective questions.

I know that, to you, this can appear to be a tedious, slow process, and that at least a few of you might become disillusioned, thinking that we don’t participate, or that you weren’t able to capture our attention. You’d be mistaken: after the collectives get together in each zone, they will write out the questions they came up with and we will send them to you through the same line of communication that we used to invite you to this encounter. At least until we come up with an agreed upon medium and way of keeping in touch.

Of course, all of this is part of our certainty that this encounter will be the first of many, and that all of you will keep in touch with your students, and through them, with tens of thousands of Zapatistas.

So, have patience. At least the same patience you provide your investigations and experiments, or the type that would otherwise drive you to despair while you wait to learn that your project proposals have been accepted.

Having said that, allow me to propose the Zapatista methodology par excellence: Answering a question with another question.

With this, you will need to begin your answers with a fundamental question: “Why do you ask that?”

So let me explain. Because of the ways of Zapatismo, our practices in the communities do not seek to hegemonize or homogenize. This means that we do not relate only among Zapatistas, and we do not try to make everyone Zapatistas. While our setbacks and mistakes are ours alone, our successes and advancements we share with non-Zapatistas even with anti-Zapatistas. To understand why this is so, it would be necessary to study our history, something that surpasses the aims of this encounter.

For now, it suffices to say that, for example, the health promoters also care for the health of partidistas [political party followers]. So then, if a health promoter is giving out vaccines, it wouldn’t be rare for them to come up against partidistas who refuse because, they argue, vaccines are not natural, or are poisonous, or make you sick, or introduce illnesses into your body, or other superstitions or whatever else, which are due to the fraud that is the government’s health system. In effect, the senior and best promoters of bad health in the partidista communities are the governmental authorities.

Because of this, in light of the partidistas’ disasters, the health promoter tries to argue for and convince people that vaccines are good. This is why it’s logical that one of the questions I read yesterday was, “Scientifically, is it necessary to vaccinate yourself and why, or are there other ways and/or forms that substitute vaccines for other things? For example, for whooping cough, measles, smallpox, tetanus, etc?” With this question, they are asking you to provide them with arguments.

It’s the same with education promoters, the community radio announcers, and the authorities and coordinators of the collectives.

Another example: when a person in a community convulses or becomes ill and exhibits strange symptoms, the partidistas begin to say that it’s because somebody cast some kind of witchcraft. Because accusations of witchcraft usually end up with lynchings, the Zapatistas take great efforts to convince the partidistas that there is no such thing, that the convulsions have a scientific explanation and not a magical one, and that it’s not witchcraft but epilepsy that provokes those attacks. That’s why they are asking about the supernatural, the occult sciences, telepathy, etcetera. Statistics on this aren’t kept, but more than one partidista is indebted to neo-Zapatismo for not having been lynched for witchcraft, the evil eye, and things like that.

There are also questions on topics that they have received contradictory views on. For example, genetically modified organisms. There are some who say that they are harmful, and others who say that they are not, and others who say that of course they’re not. So the compas request scientific proof, not the slogans for either of these positions.

Yesterday, the biologist told us about a survey she conducted, it seems to me, using social media. She told us that someone replied that they would participate when she included the option to answer something like, “science is evil.”

Well, the Zapatista communities are visited by all kinds of people. The majority come to tell us what we should or should not do. People come, for example, who tell us that it’s good to live in houses with dirt floors and mud and clay walls; that it’s good to walk barefoot; that all of this is beneficial to us because it puts us into direct contact with Mother Nature, allowing us to directly receive the beneficial auras of the universe’s harmony. Don’t laugh at me, thinking I’m exaggerating. I’m transcribing word for word the assessment of a former student of the Zapatista Little School.

“Modernity is evil,” they say, and along with that they include: shoes, manufactured flooring, wall, and roofing material, and science.

To be sure, science doesn’t have much going in its favour. Open-pit mining, machines that build hotels and subdivisions, farming techniques imposed by donors and government programmes promising “progress,” have all arrived at its hand.

It is said that religion arrived in indigenous communities by the sword; that is true. But what’s forgotten is that pseudoscience and anti-science have arrived at the hand of good vibes, naturalism as non-religion, esotericism as “ancestral knowledge,” and microdosing mushrooms as neo-medicine.

I understand that those things take place in the hipster establishments of San Cristóbal de las Casa or in certain Coyoacan neighbourhoods near and dear to your hearts, and that they sound nice while smoking a joint (puff-puff-pass), consuming smart drinks, and ingesting soft drugs. Ok, so everyone escapes from reality according to their respective budgets—we are not judging.

But understand that the challenge that we have proposed to confront as the Zapatistas that we are, requires tools that, I regret to disappoint more than one person out there when I say, ONLY “scientific science” can provide us with—which is how Subcomandante Insurgente Moises refers to the sciences “that really are sciences,” in distinction to the sciences which are not.

-*-

Yesterday, we also heard about an experiment about something like “science and gender.” I think that it went like this: they put a man and a woman up for an academic job, each with identical CVs. The search committee was composed of the same number of men and women. They selected the man, were asked why they had selected him and not her, and their response was that the woman was submissive, conciliatory, and weak.

Sure, my biological chemical makeup includes the complete works of de José Alfredo Jiménez and Pedro Infante, so I celebrated the decision. But then, together with SubMoy, we got to thinking and started doing the figures.

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We asked Insurgenta Erika (present here) what she thought about that. She, for her part, asked me what “submissive” was. I responded, “obedient.” Then she asked me what the word “conciliatory” meant. “That she doesn’t fight, that she doesn’t impose, that she tries to find an agreement,” I answered. The word “weak” she said she understood. She thought for bit and then told us: “I don’t think I know those things.”

So then, forgive me if we live in another world, but we don’t know of any compañera who is submissive, conciliatory, and weak. Maybe because if they were, they wouldn’t be Zapatistas.

However, I think that in these lands, this experiment would have the same result but for the opposite reasons. That is, they would still select the man but precisely because the woman is neither submissive nor conciliatory, and much less weak.

And I mention this for what I am about to explain:

The following anecdote was told to me by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and I narrate it here for you, after having confirmed the details with him.

It may have taken place in a caracol in a meeting for the Hydra course given to the mensajeros and mensajeras, he’s not sure.

What happened was that a compañera jóvena [female youth] ran into SubMoy and asked him something like, “Hey compañero Subcomandante, I have a question. Let’s see if you can answer it.” ([When she said it in Spanish] she kept switching the gendered nouns’ pronouns between masculine and feminine, which is now part of the “way” that Spanish is spoken in many of the communities.)

SubMoy answered something like, “Ok compañera, tell me and if I know, I’ll answer. And if I don’t, well, let’s see how we do.”

It was clear that this question had been spinning in the jóvena’s head for many days and nights because she blurted out:

“Why is the flower that colour, why is it that shape, why does it have that scent?”

She didn’t stop there. Now having overcome the main obstacle (expressing the question), she added:

“And I don’t want you to tell me that Mother Earth in all her wisdom made the flower like that, or that it was God, or whatever else. I want to know the scientific answer.”

SubMoy could have responded in the way any military type, whether left or right, would have responded: that the compañera needed to cut her nonsense and go back to her post, or finish her work, or get to studying the seven principles, or that she study the Hydra lectures. Or maybe he would have referred her to the JBG or MAREZ or to the education or health commission.

He could have done all that, but he didn’t. Yes, SubMoy told me how he answered. But I got to thinking about the multitude of options that, in different calendars and geographies, would have inspired other answers.

Now looking back, it occurs to me, this unpublished anachronistic alchemist, that the compañera Zapatista was not looking for SubMoy to answer why the damn flower was the way that it was. Instead, she was looking for him to capture, how they say, all of the complexity that resides within that flower.

With just that question alone and who posed it we could have an entire seminar on the history of Zapatismo. No, I won’t overwhelm you by telling you a story that you surely won’t be interested in. All of you right now, like I was then, are more interested in learning what SubMoy’s answer was for the compañera.

SubMoy said to me, in his signature paused, teaching tone, that he had realized that, behind the question there was not only another question, but an even bigger question.

It was a question that had to with what, then and now, are referred to as the changes that have taken place in the Zapatista communities.

The jóvena, in contrast to her mother and grandmother when they were the same age, has already rejected two marriage proposals (“As if I were thinking about a husband,” was the identical response that greeted the two suitors who, only moments before, had used up half a bottle of cologne and styled with a gel that will help maintain their hair’s position for centuries); she is fluent in two languages (her mother tongue and Spanish);  she can read and write with an accuracy that college students at a certain national university would envy; she has completed the primary and secondary autonomous schools; she carries out her duties as a health promoter and Tercio Compa; she can work a computer and on three different operating systems (iOS, Windows, and Linux) without difficulty; in addition to operating cameras and video editing software, she can easily navigate the internet—of course, as long as the atmospheric climate allows the JBG’s satellite link to withstand the upload and download bandwidth of 0.05 kb per second, and that the limit hasn’t already been reached with the communities’ denouncements.

With this background, it’s no surprise that she wasn’t going to be satisfied with the answer about “Mother Earth in all her infinite wisdom made the flower like that because everything is in harmony with the universe’s forces that emanate from within nature.” (Here everyone can close their eyes, take each other by the hands, and repeat after me: “ommm, ommmm.”)

It would make sense to assume that, when her mother, in response to her questions, would have instead sent her to fetch water or firewood, the jóvena would have gone for the aforementioned items without protest but would have kept pondering the question along her 4 kilometre walk to fetch the wood, and 2 kilometre trip to fetch the water.

Of course, if I were to tell you that the jóvena Zapatista in question is named Azucena [Lily], or Camelia, or Dalia, or Jazmín, or Violeta, or sure, Flor [Flower], you are all going to wonder if there aren’t already enough absurdly obvious occurrences that there’s no need to keep on raining on those things that are already wet. And I won’t tell you the truth, which is that the compañera’s name is Rosita, that her mother’s name is Rosa, and that her grandmother is Rosalia. Imagine the horror if the compañera has a baby girl. For sure her name would end up being Rositía.

Well, the point is that, when days later SubMoy told me that we had to think of how we were going to be in touch with the scientists, I gave him that same confused expression that you all had when you saw the title of this presentation. Of course SubMoy didn’t take it personally, so he forced me to ask him, “What’s that mean, where you going with that?”

SupMoy lit a cigarette and responded laconically, “The flower is to blame.”

For my part, of course, I lit a pipe and remained silent but my facial expression said, “Ah, you think?” Nah, that’s not true. I gave him an expression that said, “What?!” Nah, that’s not true either. But I did give him some kind of expression because I didn’t have my mask on and SubMoy laughed and explained his response, as I already mentioned.

The context, as they say, of the question and of the answer, is what SubMoy will talk to you about tomorrow.

So then all you scientists, when you return to your world and somebody asks you what this encounter resulted in, or why you came, or what it was about, or how it went, you can begin your long or short answer this way:

“The flower is to blame.”

Thank you very much.

From CIDECI-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, México, Latin America, planet Earth, Solar System, etc.

SupGaleano.

December 27, 2016.

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From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog: Zapatista Defence, Art, and Science

It hasn’t yet been possible to clear up the reason why. Some say that it was a bet. Others say that it was because Pedrito just took it too far. A very small number of people say that what was witnessed that day was an extraordinarily intense game whose result was decided in the final seconds, when the referee, SupMoisés, called the penalty.

Whatever the case, this places the little girl, Zapatista Defence, only a few metres away from the penalty line, where a frayed ball awaits her.

At the goal, Pedrito holds his arms up above his head like the goal keeper of what used to be the soccer team of what used to be the Soviet Union: Lev Yashin, “The Black Spider.” Pedrito smiles cunningly, for, according to him, he can already predict where the girl will aim her shot: “Zapatista Defence is perfectly predictable. Since she just came back from the discussion with the mensajeras, she will for sure aim her kick below and to the left.”

For her part, the girl, who barely stands a metre off the ground, turns her gaze toward one side of the field. (Actually, it’s a pasture which occasionally erupts with cows and their young calves, in addition to a one-eyed horse.)

On this side you can see: a strange being, half dog and half cat, happily wagging its tail. As well as two individuals who, if these weren’t Zapatista lands, one would say they totally clashed with the landscape. One of them: medium-complexioned, short grey hair, sporting a type of raincoat. The other: skinny, tall, gawky, with an elegant coat and a ridiculous sombrero on his head.

The girl heads toward the strange group. The one-eyed horse comes closer, too. They gather, and the skinny man draws strange figures on the dirt. The girl pays close attention, once in a while, nodding her head.

The girl, Zapatista Defence, returns to the middle of the field and assumes her position. She begins to trot toward the ball but she runs past it, without even touching it. She stops a few centimetres from the right side of the goal that’s being defended by Pedrito, who looks at her suspiciously. Zapatista Defence stops, squats down, and begins to scratch a bit of dirt so that she can pick a flower by its roots. She carefully takes the flower in her hands, replants it far from the goal, and returns to the field.

The audience is in suspense, sensing that they’re witnessing one of those events that will never again be repeated the world over.

Pedrito, for his part, is now more than confident. If he previously had any doubts, Zapatista Defence has committed a serious error: as she moved to pick the flower from its place, the girl signalled the direction she was going to kick to: below and to the left of Pedrito. Clearly, Pedrito told himself, because girls care about flowers, Zapatista Defence didn’t want the ball to uproot the flower.

As if that wasn’t suspenseful enough, the girl has now positioned herself no longer some distance from the ball and in front of the goal. Instead, she is standing right next to the ball with her back turned to a smiling Pedrito who is thinking about all of the ways he will make fun of Zapatista Defence when she misses the penalty kick.

Zapatista Defence turns her face over to where the strange Cat-Dog is, who starts to jump up and down and spin like a little dancing toy. The girl smiles and she initiates a movement that will divide opinions for decades to come:

Some participants from CompArte say that she first began in a ballet position, raised her left leg up, and began to whirl in that movement they call “pirouette en dehors”, and “relevés” and rotating “passes.” “It was impeccable,” they added.

The now deceased SupMarcos said that, what Zapatista Defense had just done, was none other than the Ushiro Mawashi Geri Ashi Mawatte, a martial arts technique where you turn your back to your target and spin just about 360 degrees before kicking it with the heel of your foot.

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The insurgentas that were gathered in the section, “Like the Women that we Are,” for their part, said that the flower that Zapatista Defence picked up belonged to the liana known as “Chenek Caribe,” whose flowers look like little chicks or little birds, and are what the littlest of girls play with in the indigenous communities of the Lacandon Jungle. The “Chenek Caribe” tend to bloom in pastures and tall grasses, signalling that the soil is ready to sow maiz and beans.

SubGaleano who, as always, crashes these stories, says that he was certain that Pedrito would become confused by what was so obvious: that, in effect, Zapatista Defence was going to shoot below and to the left, but Pedrito assumed that it was going to be to HIS below and to the left. The kick did go below and to the left, but from the perspective of the girl.

Dr Watson said that what Zapatista Defence had done was briefly emulate the meditative dance Sema practiced by Sufi Dervishes just as he had seen performed live during his stay in Turkey, where the dancers spin their bodies in repetitive circles, imitating the movement of the planets orbiting the sun.

The detective consultant Sherlock Holmes explained that everybody was mistaken. That what the girl did was the application of a scientific explanation he had given her on the rotational inertia of a body, and the application of centrifugal force on the sphere. “Elementary, my dear Watson,” said the detective, who found himself lost in the Mexican South-eastern Mountains. “It was clear that, given the height and weight of Zapatista Defence, it was necessary to increase as much as possible the force that was to connect with the sphere, providing the ball the necessary velocity and acceleration to travel 11 metres. Sure, the probability of success was 50/50. That is, the goalkeeper could have moved toward the opposite side, or moved toward the side the ball was headed to, thus stopping it without difficulty.”

“And the flower?” asked Dr Watson. “Ah,” Sherlock responded, “that, my dear Watson, is the girl’s own contribution which didn’t occur to me. Further, I was surprised as much as the goalie was. With what she did, she increased the chances that the goalie would move toward the direction where she first found the flower. It was something that, of course, had nothing to do with science or with art. If you will permit me, Dr Watson, it was as if she had succeeded in synthesizing both. Very interesting, my dear Watson, very interesting.”

After the commotion died down, the Tercio Compas interviewed Pedrito. When they asked him how it was that the ball successfully made it into the goal, Pedrito responded laconically:

“The flower is to blame.”

I can vouch for that.

Bark-meow.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2017/01/16/the-flower-is-to-blame/

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A Few First Questions For The Sciences And Their ConSciences

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December 26, 2016

Scientists [Científicas and Científicos]:

Compas of the Sixth:

Observers and Listeners who are present here and those who are at a distance:

Good morning, afternoon, night, and, as always, the dark hours before dawn:

My name is SupGaleano. As I am only a little over two and a half years old, my version of what used to be called a “curriculum vitae” and now is called a “user profile” is quite brief. In addition to being an insurgente and a Zapatista, I have various other professions. One of them, for example, is to make those who consider themselves fine upstanding citizens uncomfortable, and to awake the basest instincts of those who do not. I do this by showing my clearly seductive and voluptuous figure, which I have achieved, through much effort, via a rigorous diet of greasy meals along with supplementary junk food at my discretion.

I am also, much to my own dismay and that of many readers, the unwilling scribe for the whims of a particular being—mythological for people over 12 years of age and of obvious existential importance for any person passionate about science and any child [niño, niña, or niñoa] who doesn’t care about calendars except to play with. I am referring, of course, to that being whose mere existence lays social and biological Darwinism to rest and marks the emergence of a new epistemic paradigm: the cat-dog. Perhaps, when this entity abandons the prison of the word, world history will be marked and its calendar redefined with “a before and after the cat-dog.”

(The Sup takes out two figurines of the Cat-Dog, carved out of wood and painted by insurgentes).

Another of my professions, at times and on the orders of my bosses, is to feed the paranoid conspiracy theories against the always “suffering,” “selfless,” and well-behaved institutional left that, for lack of real arguments and proposals, resorts to the role of eternal victim in the hopes that pity will translate into votes and for whom fanaticism substitutes for reason and even a minimum of decency.

Yet another of my professions is transgressor of laws such as those of gravity, seriousness, and good manners.

One more profession, which is most relevant in this case, is that of alchemist. Really I should be a scientist, but as I have not yet managed to transform the essence of one thing into its contradictory opposite, I have not received the level of recognition that my admirable labours deserve. But not to despair, I continue experimenting in my laboratory with test tubes and plants, under the ever-critical gaze of the cat-dog, trying to eliminate the essence of that aberration of nature called squash soup and transmute it into something likable and nutritious like pecan ice cream, which, along with popcorn and hot sauce, are some of the few things that science has produced for the benefit of humanity and which differentiate us, along with the opposable thumb and despite the specimen of Donald Trump, from non-human primates.

Thus, today it is my job to try to make you feel, not know, our happiness as Zapatistas that you have accepted our invitation and, despite the calendar, have found the way and means to participate in this gathering.

As Zapatistas we have been waiting for you for almost 23 years. As original peoples, well, you can do the maths.

Of course, many will say that it is not their first time here and that they have, in heart and body, come before. They are right. They have been here, but not as they will be here in the coming days, that is, here to teach and maybe, possibly, to learn from us.

We as Zapatistas are here as your students, your apprentices.

Although we are ready to learn like anybody else, we are a very other kind of student. So that you can get to know us as Zapatistas, we will start by telling you what we don’t want and what we do want.

For example, we won’t help you to haul around your books, nor prepare a bibliography, nor bring your lab materials. Nor we will be hoping that you don’t show up so that we have an excuse to leave. We aren’t looking for good grades, credits, degrees, or, upon finishing our studies, to start our own business based on science, pseudoscience, or false science hidden behind an official letterhead.

We do not aspire to profit from knowledge, nor to achieve prestige by offering the glass beads that are the pseudosciences and philosophies claiming “change comes from within,” “love will redeem the world,” “this concoction/party/politician/leader-of-the-moment-will-bring-us-happiness” that come into fashion or not in times of crisis when the least common of senses, common sense, is defeated by the offer of magical solutions for everyone and everything.

We do not think of knowledge as a social status symbol or measure of intelligence. It’s clear that anybody can graduate using plagiarized material, or by pretending to have valid solutions thanks to the increasingly weak magic of the mass media.

We don’t want to go away to the university, we want to build a university in our communities, for you to teach and learn alongside our peoples.

We don’t want to go to the big laboratories and scientific research centres of the metropolis; we want them to be built here.

Instead of army and police barracks, open air mines and fancy hotels, we want—constructed here, under our leadership and collective operation—astronomical observatories, laboratories, physics and robotics workshops, sites for the observation, study, and conservation of nature, and even a Large Hadron Collider or something that allows us to free the graviton from the hypothetical prison of that particle and to thus begin to determine, once and for all, whether the physicists who subscribe to String Theory are members of a frustrated neo-cult or a group of paradigmatic scientists.

We want to erect schools to train scientists, not workshops disguised as schools that only teach vocations that serve capitalism (cheap and unskilled labour), or that only serve to pass the time or for the bad governments, or whoever aspires to become them, to say they built new schools or institutes.

We want scientific study, not just technical study.

We don’t just want to know how to drive or repair a vehicle, a sewing machine, a carpentry tool, a microscope; we also want to know the scientific principles of mechanical movement and optic physics, what combustion is; we want to know that speed is not the same as acceleration; one shouldn’t confuse value and price.

We don’t want to enter those scientific and technological competitions that so enthuse the public and private universities in order to see which machine or machinist is best. We want to learn and do science and technology to win the only competition that is worthwhile: that of life against death.

We don’t want to go to the big cities and get lost there. And that isn’t because we don’t have the knowledge to do so—the kids who have been educated in the autonomous schools have a greater level of knowledge then those who were educated in the state-run schools—nor is it for lack of intelligence or money.

It’s because we do not want to cease to be what we are. And we are originary peoples, indigenous, as they say. What makes us what we are is our land, our people, our history, our culture, and as Zapatistas, our struggle.

In sum, we want to understand the world, to know it. Because only by knowing the world can we make a new one, a bigger one, a better one.

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A wise man of the originary peoples, Purépecha by blood, Mexican by geography and internationalist by heart, Tata Grande Juan Chávez Alonso, once said that the life of the original peoples is, among other things, a continuous preparation. “We have to prepare ourselves for everything: to be born, to grow, to love, to hate, to learn, to build, to destroy, to struggle, to die. And in the end, this is what we leave for those who come after us. We do not leave them an inheritance of riches, surnames, and positions. We only leave them the lesson that they must prepare themselves—for everything, all of the time, everywhere.”

That is why you should know that we have been preparing ourselves for this event for months.

We didn’t just show up here in front of you to see what you say, to see how you are, what your ways and times and geographies consist of. No, we came here prepared.

The doubt that moves us, the scientific curiosity, the eagerness to learn and know, comes from long ago, so long ago that the scientific calendars can’t keep track.

For example, we prepared questions.

We know well that just as you have to prepare to teach, we who don’t know yet have to prepare to learn.

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We also know that, just as one has to study to give answers, one also has to study to ask questions.

It hasn’t been easy. For example, we had to study how to say and write words like “anabolic,” “salbutamol,” “clenbuterol” “pre-eclampsia” and “eclampsia.” We had to learn to say “el mioma” [myoma] and not “la mioma.” We had to find a way to explain to you what it means “to burst out fish” and other things that we see in our world as indigenous people.

We met multiple times. First we met as zone-level assemblies. There we chose who would participate in this event given their area of work, for example, those who are promotores [trained practitioners] in the area of health, education, agro-ecology, medicinal plants, community radio, bone-setting and midwifery, etc. It didn’t matter if the person is young or old, if they are 15 or 524 years old. They did however have to understand Spanish, in order to understand all of you. And of course, they had to be interested in science.

Later the compañeras and compañeros who were selected met multiple times to prepare our questions. The first and most important questions we created were: what are we going to ask these brother and sister scientists? Do we only ask them what they know about science? Or do we also ask them how they see the current situation, if they think things are bad or everything is calm? Do we ask them how they view their scientific work? Do we ask them how they struggle for justice and freedom?

These questions that we are going to read to you now are some of the ones that we prepared in our meetings. As you will see, many of the questions don’t correspond to the exact and natural sciences, which should give you an idea of what the next gathering will be. Here goes:

Do genetically modified organisms do harm to Mother Nature and human beings or not?

Is there a scientific explanation for why, in some regions, in gullies where in times of drought there is no water, as soon as the first rains come (in May and June), there is a sudden spike in the production of fish? This is what we call “bursting with fish.”

Let me see if I can clarify these questions. Many years ago, let’s say about 30, about the middle of 1986, we were in the mountains…

1986, when Michael Jackson was still of African American complexion…

1986, when the Green Ecology Party of Mexico, the Citizens Movement, the Workers Party, the Democratic Revolutionary Party [PRD] and the party of the Movement for National Regeneration [MORENA] were all still called the Institutional Revolutionary Party [PRI] and they had as designated successor Carlo Salinas de Gortari whose economic policies they all still back today. The New Alliance Party and the Social Encounter Party still went under the name of National Action Party.

(Decades later, the eezeeelen has recognized its defeat and has another structure; Michael Jackson, even with a different colour, kept being Michael Jackson; the PRI and the PAN are still all the same people, although now with other colours)…

Around the middle of 1986, during the soccer World Cup, that intermediary between heaven and earth, the dervish named Diego Armando Maradona, took off from midfield, leaving every British player in the dust until, satisfied, he shot the ball into the net in a play that marked the 20th century and still causes old fans to say, when watching Lionel Messi play, “Pfff! I saw Maradona perform a scientific demonstration that god exists and is round.”

Okay, I guess that wasn’t a very orthodox example.

Well, in 1986, we were in an insurgent camp called “Recruits.” A group of recruits asked the commander in charge for permission to go to a nearby village to collect fish. “You mean to go fishing,” the commander said. “No,” they replied, “to collect fish, because this is the time when the stream bursts with fish.” The commander wanted to know what this was all about, and they told him: “the stream is dry, and at the first rain, it bursts with fish, but since there is no water, you just grab them.” “So are they tiny fish then?” the commander asked skeptically. “No, they’re grown, big fish, sardina or bobito,” they replied. “There’s no such thing as magic, but go ahead,” the commander said. The next day they came back with a burlap sack full of fresh fish. That afternoon we ate so much fish soup that the trees that shaded the camp took on a fluorescent light that could have been seen without difficulty from the space telescope Hubble.

In sum: there’s just a dry riverbed, a first, timid rain, and then, with the riverbed just barely moist and spotted with a few puddles, thousands of adult fish flap around disconcerted with that same distrustful look that you all have right now. What is the scientific explanation? End of the pointless clarification. Continuing with the questions:

When a patient suffers a bone fracture, a doctor amputates the affected area or installs a metal rod or screw. But if the patient is treated by a bonesetter, they’re cured. What is the explanation for this?

With all of the damage that the capitalists have done to the people through their misuse of science, scientifically can you create a science that is truly human in order to avoid falling into a science that is inhuman, and if it is possible create a truly human science, who can create it?

In our struggle for liberation we see and feel the reality produced by the capitalist hydra. We are therefore creating a new society and a new world to save nature for the sake of a humanity without injustice, inequality, exploitation, and poverty. For this we need the originary peoples, all exploited people, the artists and you as scientists to be united, because your inventions and discoveries are very important for the development of humanity. What do you think and what do you have to say about this?

Brother and sister companer@ scientists, you have a different kind of knowledge, but we, and other sectors, all have something in common, because capitalism exploits us all and appropriates our knowledges for its own evil ends. Do you think that we are going to allow this exploitation to continue, or is there another way to live with justice and freedom, a way to work collectively and with unity, to defend life and humanity?

Brother and sister companer@ scientists, the exploitation and abuse of human beings and nature has caused much suffering and death. We want the exploiters and also whoever doesn’t suffer as we do to put themselves in our shoes. This has made us think that something must be done and made us ask who should do it. We have concluded that the artists, scientists, originary peoples, and those below must put together our wisdom and begin to construct a new world where those of us who live will live well. Will you agree to be part of the construction of a new world together with us?

Brother and sister companer@ scientists, as Zapatistas we think that science itself is a series of knowledges that can help us to develop a more human system, where our dreams of unity and the conservation of Mother Earth and living beings can be possible. Simultaneously they will help us to soon destroy this capitalist monster. So we ask, is there room for your dreams, your knowledges and your science in the world of oppression? Is there room for your dreams within dispossession, horror, fear and the extermination of life? Do you believe that science can humanize in conjunction with the peoples of the countryside and the city?

Brothers and sisters, companer@s, scientists, what do you think about the women who are being exploited, manipulated, marginalized, assassinated, tortured, kidnapped, racially discriminated against and used as objects to promote capitalist commodities? What do you think about the fact that they use us as publicity for their propaganda and their transport of drugs, and as objects to satisfy their sexual needs? That they prostitute us to sell articles to make money? Why must we suffer to see the violence and death faced by millions of women across the world on an everyday basis? And we do not only feel pain, but also rage and fury. For example, as Zapatista women we are exercising our right and freedom to participate in our autonomous government of lead-by-obeying, which we see is a space for us to construct a new society. What do you think as scientists can be done to free us from all of this suffering and evil that the capitalist system does to us? And what can we do about it, you and us together? And given that without us women the world cannot live, how much time to you think that we women have to wait to be free? Is it now or never? As Zapatista women we see that it is possible to organize, struggle and work, we see that you and us need one another.

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And so to bring this section to a close, I put two questions to you. The first came from Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés:

What is the scientific explanation for why whenever you start to talk about politics the insurgentas and insurgents fall asleep? Some of them even claim that they have trouble sleeping, but all that you have to do is start talking about politics and they start snoring. Is there a scientific explanation for this? Or are they just acting a fool?

The second question will make more sense in the next session:

Why is this flower this colour? Why does it have this shape? Why does it have this smell?

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(The Sup takes out his little Einstein and Sherlock Holmes dolls and places them in the middle of the table, surrounded on either side by a pair of cat-dog figures).

Like any self-respecting alchemist, I feel a mixture of envy and admiration for the person who, without stopping to attend to the global problems of injustice and slavery, also practices the hard sciences (like Albert Einstein here) and for those who manage to go beyond the abstract universe and apply the sciences in pursuit of human justice (like detective Sherlock Holmes). Einstein and Holmes, both represent the commitment of their scientific and technical work to social transformation. Both remind us that, as Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés highlighted earlier, we cannot delegate our tasks as full human beings to others.

That is why, despite the fact that I am only a mediocre alchemist, you, who have made scientific work your motor and your destiny, share with me and with those who are huddled here with you, the idea that we must do something. And this something doesn’t have anything to do with the irresponsibility of delegating the responsibility of doing something to others.

Of course, you will say that I am setting a trap. That, in placing the figures of Albert Einstein and Sherlock Holmes in front of you, I am resorting to a crude and caricatured form of blackmail in order to oblige you to adhere to a political proposal that seeks to hegemonize and homogenize everything: the sciences, the arts, life.

Maybe, maybe not. Let’s leave aside for a moment the blackmail, perhaps more appropriate for adolescent romance and the politics of above that pays lip-service to “love” and “fraternity” while they traffic in discrimination, racism, intolerance and the “with me or against me” that all fascists resort to.

Note that alongside Einstein and Holmes I have placed the little Cat-dog figures, which are both looking at them and looking at you.

The Cat-dog is acting like Doctor Watson, ready to sum up his scientific achievements, that is, his human ones.

But the Cat-dog is also pointing to the shadows of Moriarty and the Manhattan Project, alerting you to the ominous and predatory presence of the Hydra, the system that is always inclined to operate its perverse alchemy and convert knowledge made for life and for creation into knowledge for destruction and death.

That is how – one more blackmail – I am showing you what this encounter is about, an encounter between your science and the conscience of us Zapatistas.

I am showing you that we look at you and that our gaze is also a form of listening to you and understanding you.

That our gaze has this mix of admiration and envy for what you are; for what it is that, at least according to us Zapatistas, makes you special.

And our gaze is neither hopeful, nor not hopeful,

Our gaze is simply asking:

And what about you? What are you doing?

From CIDECI_Unitierra, Chiapas, Mexico, Latin America, Planet Earth, Solar System, etcetera.
SupGaleano.

Mexico, December 26, 2016

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/26/algunas-primeras-preguntas-a-las-ciencias-y-sus-conciencias/

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EZLN: Inauguration Of The Gathering “The Zapatistas And ConSciences For Humanity”

Words of the General Command of the EZLN in the name of the Zapatista women, men, children and elders at the opening of the Gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”

moi

Good morning.

Compañeras, compañeros of Mexico and of the world:

Brothers and sisters of Mexico and of the world:

First and foremost, in the name of the compañeras and compañeros who are Bases of Support of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we thank all of the compañer@s of CIDECI who once again have provided us with these spaces so that we, Zapatista originary peoples and scientists, can gather here as a way to begin to look and walk toward what must be done in this world we live in, which capitalism is destroying.

We also thank the compañeros who have worked on registration and coordination for this event.

We also thank the compañer@s from the transport support team.

We thank you in advance, compañeras and compañeros of the various teams and collectives for the shitload of work that you have done to make this gathering happen. Many thanks.

For we as Zapatista men and women, today begins our long walk in search of others with whom we think share the great responsibility to defend and save the world we live in – with the art of artists, the science of scientists, and the originary peoples alongside those below from across the entire world.

A handful of some so-called “neoliberal capitalists” have decided to savagely destroy everything, caring nothing at all for this house that we live in.

This makes us Zapatistas think and ask ourselves:

Where are we poor people of the world going to live, because they, the rich, might just go and live on another planet?

What should we do now, as we see that they are destroying our house?

Or what happens if they take us to another planet to be their slaves?

After turning this over many times in our heads, we conclude that:

Below there are women and men who study science, who study scientifically, who do good science. But the wicked capitalists come along and use this science to do harm to the very people who discovered that science. What kind of harm?

They use science to make the rich richer.

The rich use it as they choose, for a destiny other than that for which it was created. They use it to kill and destroy.

Now it is getting worse for them up there, and that will be used even more harshly against us living beings and our mother earth.

That is how all of these bad things began and how they continue, bringing us to a very dire point today.

This is how things happened, and in the same way they use the artists who make art – capitalism uses everything to the detriment of society and for the good of capitalism. What was natural, nature and those who live within it, which is to say the originary peoples, will be destroyed along with mother nature.

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Therefore, we believe, think, and imagine.

We can organize ourselves, work, struggle, and defend who we are – the foundation of this world – so that this world, the house in which we live, can’t be disappeared by the capitalists. Now is the time, brothers and sisters, compañer@s, compañeroas; no one is going to bring us salvation. It is up to us.

Begin to dream and you will see that we can only fight capitalism with good scientific science, the art of the artist, and the guardians of mother nature together with those below from across the world. This is our responsibility.

I don’t mean to say that we are the only ones who should struggle, not at all. But when we look around at how things are, we realize that all of the useful things that we have in our houses are a matter of science, in terms of where they came from, and all of the figures and figurines in our houses and rooms are the art of artists, and all of the materials for these things come from mother nature, where the originary peoples live.

It is as if we are the “seeds” of all of this.

Let’s put it even more clearly.

Who figured out how to make today’s most modern cellphone? It’s the same for thousands of other products – they are used to benefit the rich, and not for the use science intended, nor for the people.

Who figured out how to make the images that are held within cellphones which are now manipulated on any whim?

Where did the materials that cellphones are made of come from? The same question goes for thousands of other goods.

Capitalism has converted science into something used for harm: something to feed its massive accumulation of wealth; something to manipulate at its every whim. It takes no responsibility for the destruction it has wrought with these actions.

We know what will happen.

One more point of clarity.

We are the lifeblood of the rich; we are the flesh and bone that make their lives possible, and the rest of the organs (in this body) are made up of the consumers; meanwhile, they live to do us harm in this capitalist system.

The origin of the evil the capitalist system wreaks on us is revealed.

Our survival, and the other construction of a new world, is in our hands.

Today we are here not to tell each other what to do, but to understand what our function is to capitalism in this world, and to see if what capitalism has us doing is any good for this world that we live in, human and living beings.

And if we discover that it is entirely bad, that the use capitalism makes of our sciences is harmful, then we have to take responsibility and decide what to do.

Before I finish compañeras and compañeros, sisters and brothers, today December 26, we do not forget that there are lives missing from our midst, the life of the 46 missing young people from Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.

Together with their families and friends who continue to search for them and who do not give up or sell out, we Zapatista men and women also demand truth and justice. To these mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers of the missing, we give our largest collective embrace.

So, welcome to this gathering, to this long walk of the other sciences during which there is no rest, because rest would mean that the other, new world is already built, and until it is built there will be no rest.

May your wisdom, scientists, encounter and embrace our desire to learn and to know about the worlds.

Many thanks.

From CIDECI-Unitierra, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, December 26, 2016

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/26/palabras-de-la-comandancia-general-del-ezln-a-nombre-de-las-mujeres-hombres-ninos-y-ancianos-zapatistas-en-el-inicio-del-encuentro-ls-zapatistas-y-las-conciencias-por-la-humanidad/

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EZLN: Program For The Gathering “The Zapatistas And ConSciences For Humanity”

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CIDECI-Unitierra. San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

From December 26, 2014, through January 4, 2017.

December 26
10:00 – 11:00. Inauguration. Words of Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés on behalf of the Zapatista women, men, children, and elders.
General Sessions. Participation by:
Biologist Adriana Raquel Aguilar Melo: “The Academy May Be Exclusionary, But Can Science Be A Common Good?”
Dr. Marco Antonio Sánchez Ramos: “Sisyphus and Science”
Dr. Tonatiuh Matos Chassin: “A Fundamental Law for the Progress of a Nation”
Physicist Eduardo Vizcaya Xilotl: “(Meta)Sciences, Utopias and Dystopias”
Professors Luis Malaret and Diane Rocheleau: “Ecology From Below”
Dr. Iván Alejandro Velasco-Dávalos: “Who Does Science Serve? A Collective Vision Regarding the Importance of the Joint Popularization of the Arts and the Sciences”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “Some Questions for the Sciences”

December 27
General Sessions. Participation by:
Physicist Alejo Stark: “The Role of the Sciences in the Transformation of the World”
Dr. Claudio Martínez Debat: “Biology and Biotechnology: Who Do They Serve?”
Doctoral Candidate Dr. Luis Fernando Santis Espinosa: “The Slavery of Science: The National Market for Natural Resources and Their Privatization”
Dr. Kristen Vogeler: “Thoughts on the Relation Between Science and Customs”
Dr. Mariana Benítez Keinrad: “Some Reflections on Science from the Cubicle of a Development Biologist”
Dr. Tatiana Fiordelisio: “The Sciences: A Raft For the Storm?”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “The Flower is to Blame”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Jerome Leboeuf: “The Potential and Applications of Artificial Intelligence”
Dr. Marco Antonio Sánchez Ramos: “What Are the Stars Made Of?”
Dr. Patricia Ramos Morales: “What Are Mutagens and Where Are They Located?”
Dr. María Alejandra Jiménez Zúñiga: “Our Place In the Cosmos: What Astrophysics Tells Us”
Mathematician Florencia Cubría: “Connectivity In Graphs”
Master of Science, Verónica López Delgado: “Gravity and Magnetism: Determinate Forces In Our World.”
Biologist Felipe Gómez Noguez: “Pteridium, A Capitalist Fern”

Workshops. Participation by:
Atenea Martínez Dolores and Manuel Alejandro Lara, Engineers. Robotics Workshop for The Masked, I (only for Zapatista students)

December 28
General Sessions. Participation by:
Elfego Ruiz Gutiérrez, Master of Science: “Critical Reflections and Practices On the Scientific Endeavor For Life”
Dr. Gabriela Piccinelli Bocchi: “Science…and ConScience, What For?”
Dr. Igor Valencia Sánchez: “Bloodsucker Science: Free Access to Knowledge and Biohackers”
Dr. Jaime del Sagrado Corazón Morales Hernández: “Agroecology and the Sciences For Sustainability”
Dr. Carlos Román Zúñiga: “Astronomy: the Poetry of the Exact Sciences”
Dr. Yuri Nahmad Molinari: “Flaws and Benefits of Mexican Energy Reform”
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano: “The Arts and the Sciences in the History of (neo) Zapatismo”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Natalia Ismene Pavón Martínez: “Estrogen and Its Influence On the Heart”
Mathematician Eric López González: “Emotional Mathematics”
Biologist Adriana Raquel Aguilar Melo: “Come Together, Separate, and Come Together Again for ‘Buen Vivir’: The Case of Non-Human Primates”
Mathematician Elisa Rocha Cardozo: “How are Living Beings Distributed Spatially?”
Dr. Gabriel Ramos Fernández: “Complexity, Resilience, and Uncertainty: Socioecosystems and Biodiversity”
Dr. Lev Jardón Barbolla.

Workshops. Participation by:
Atenea Martínez Dolores and Manuel Alejandro Lara, Engineers. “Robotics Workshop for The Masked II” (only for Zapatista students)

December 29
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Adolfo Olea Franco: “The Social Function of Science”
Engineer Fayez Mubarqui Guevara: “Feeling-thinking the Energy Crisis”
Dr. Octavio Valadez Blanco: “Scientists and Humanists as Participants in Social Struggle: Challenges in the Mexican Capitalocene”
Dr. Eva Jablonka: “Epigenetics: The Science that Connects”
Dr. Melina Gómez Bock: “The Obscurity of a Theoretical Physics”
Dr. Lev Jardón Borbolla: “The Storm in the Sciences and the Sciences in the Face of the Storm: It is Possible to Change the Relations of Production”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “The Cat-Dog and the Apocalypse”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. John Vandermeeer: “Ecological factors in Controlling Coffee Blight”
Dr. Carlos Román Zúñiga: “Gestation and Life of the Stars”
Engineers Iván Domenzain del Castillo Cerecer. “Frankensteins Also Sow Seeds”
Dr. Alejandro Vásquez Arzola: “Light and Its Enemies”
Dr. Claudio Martínez Debat: “Genetically Modified Vegetable Organisms in Uruguay”
Dr. Grodecz Alfredo Ramírez Ovando: “Geometry: A World Where Many Worlds Fit”

Workshops. Participation by:
Dr. Patricia Ramos Morales. Workshop: How Does a Scientist Work? (only for students)

December 30
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Pablo González Casanova: “Capitalism and Ecology”
Dr. John Vandermeer: “Ecology As a Science and As a Component of Cosmovisions”
Dr. Ivette Perfecto: “Ecology As a Science and As a Component of Cosmovisions, II”
Jesús Vergara Huerta, Master of Science: “The Eruption of Free and Communitarian Science In the 21st Century”
Gibran Mubarqui Guevara, Engineer: “From Imposition to Communitarian: Remaking the Sciences”
Dr. Stuart Newman: “Social Uses of Science”
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés: “Originary Peoples and the Sciences in the Service of Life”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Carlos Rodrigo Martínez Prieto: “Theory of the Origin of the Universe and Other Speculations”
Dr. Ivette Perfecto. “Ecological Complexity in the Coffee Farms of Chiapas”
Dr. Yuri Nahmad Molinari: “Harvesting the Sun”
David Franco Martínez, Master of Engineering: “Use of Renewable Energy Resources”
Physicist Alejo Stark: “Cosmos Without Borders: the Poetic Relational Logic of Physical Cosmology”
Medical Doctor Lilia Piélago García: “Palliative Cities: A Universal Right”
Dr. Emilio Molinari. “Another World is Possible, and We Are Looking for It”

Workshops. Participation by:
Karla María Castillo Espinoza, Master of Science: “What Do Fossils Tell Us About the Earth’s Past?” (only for Zapatista students)

January 2
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Kristin Mercer: “The Effect of Money in Academic Research”
Dr. Gabriel Ramos Fernández: “Complexity and Uncertainty: Scientists and Decision Making”
Dr. Gertrudis Hortensia González Gómez: “Some Promises of Science, Or, How To Care For Our Health”
Alejandro Muñoz: “García in Nuevo León and the Free-Scientific-Technology Vision for the 21st Century”
Dr. Jérôme Leboeuf: “The Risks That Arise With Artificial Intelligence”
Dr. Valeria Souza Saldívar and Dr. Luis Eguiarte Fruns: “The Water Paradigm”
Alchemist SupGaleano: “Zapatista Alchemy”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Dr. Ramón Carrillo Bastos: “Quantum Mechanics and Causality”
Dr. Mariana Peimbert:“Color Inheritance in Dogs”
Dr. Adolfo Olea: “Corn seed: From Indigenous Varieties to Hybrids and Genetically Modified Versions”
Dr. María Magdalena Tatter: “Application of Knowledges and Values in Pediatrics”
Physicist Alejandro Muñoz: “Nuclear Fusion in General as a Source of Clean Energy”
Dr. Luis Concha Loyola: “Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging to Understand the Human Brain”
Dr. Azucena de León Murillo: “Pearls of Neurological Disease”
Practicum. Participation by:
Dr. Gertrudis Hortensia González Gómez and Dr. Tatiana Fiordelisio C: “How We Study the Brain, the Muscles, and the Heart: Our Senses and Learning”

January 3
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Alejandra Arafat Angulo Perkins: “The Path and the Practice of Science in Mexico”
Teacher Ernesto Hernández Daumas: “Food Production and Public Health”
Dr. Fabiola Méndez Arriaga: “The Destruction of the Environment in the Name of Capitalist-Health: Pharmaceuticals Contaminating the World”
Dr. Juan Manuel Malda Barrera: “Science and Dialogue Between Cultures”
Christian Abraham Enríquez Olguín, Engineer: “The Transitions Between Points of Epistemic Equilibrium”
Dr. Carlos Rodrigo Martínez Prieto: “Are Physics and the Natural Sciences a True Tool of Liberation for Communities and People?”
Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano: “What’s Next?”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
Biologist Jani Azucena Olvera Maldonado: “Pathogenic Bacterial Causes of Gastrointestinal Illness and Their Relation to Water Purification”
Karla Aguilar Lara, Master of Science: “There Is No Hope For Those Who Wait (Food Technology)”
Dr. Luis David Alcaraz: “Microorganisms, Their Genes, and Health”
Dr. Manuel Fernández Guasti: “Tlayohualchieliztli and Indigenous Knowledge”
Jesús Vergara Huerta, Master of Science: “Don’t Look Into Its Eyes: New, Non-invasive Techniques for Ecophysiological Study ”
Physicist Gustavo Magallanes Guijón: “Of Whales, Jaguars, and Microbes: Geocomputational Visualization of Biological Species from the Roof of the House the Size of the World”
Dr. Juan Manuel Malda Barrera: “Empathy and Evolution”

January 4
General Sessions. Participation by:
Dr. Celia Oliver and Dr. César Abarca: “Bioethical Reflections on the Inversion of Specialized Resources In Science, Art and Humanities, Employment, and Educational Spaces”
Hugo I. Cruz Rosas, Master of Science: “A Possible Place for Basic Science In the Process of Social Transformation”
Maria del Pilar Martínez Téllez, Master of Science: “The Sciences and the Capitalist Hydra”
Dr. Martha Patricia Mora Flores: “Two Ways to see Nature: The Capitalist Lens of Patriarchy and the Very Other Gaze Of the Communities”
Physicist Nelson Ravelo: “How Can Social Movements Appropriate the Construction of a Science and Technology In Line with Social Transformation?”
Dr. Steven Rose: “Science for Oppression or Science for Liberation?”

Informational Talks. Participation by:
José Manuel Serrano Serrano, Master of Science: “What Do Females Sing In Environments Where Males Predominate? The Case of Frogs and Toads”
Mariana Patricia Jácome Paz, Master of Science: “Social Effects of the Eruption of El Chichón Volcano, Chiapas”
Biologist Nolasca Valdés Navarrete: “The Monopolization of the Ocean… The Illusion Of Fishing?”

Closing: Zapatista students and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

ezln_1-350x245

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EZLN: Update On The Gathering “The Zapatistas And ConSciences For Humanity”

 

conciencias-324x500

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

December 15, 2016

To the scientific community of Mexico and the world:

To the National and International Sixth:

We send you our greetings. We want to update you on the plans for the gathering “The Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity,” to be held at the CIDECI-UniTierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, from December 25, 2016 through January 4, 2017.

  1. As of December 12, 2016, we have the confirmed participation of 82 scientists from the following countries:
GermanyCanada

Chile

United States

Spain

Israel

Paraguay

United KingdomUruguay

Brazil

Mexico (Baja California, Campeche, Mexico City, Mexico State, Jalisco, Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí)

  1. The areas in which they work are the following:
Quantum Field TheoryMathematics

Volcanology

Astrophysics

Astronomy

Cosmology

Nuclear Fusion

Genetics

Microbiology

Geophysics

Statistical Physics

Optics

Bioethics

Biophysics

Evolutionary Biology

Marine Biology

Molecular Biology

Biochemistry

Biotechnology

Physiology and Biophysics of
Excitable Cells

Solar Photochemistry

Genetic Mutation and
Environmental Pollution

Genomics of Microorganisms

Origin and Evolution of Life

Complex Systems

Intelligent Systems Control

Biomedical ResearchNeurobiology

Neuroscience

Neuroimmunology

Aquaculture and Conservation of
Aquatic Systems

Agroecology

Energy Conservation

Food Science and Technology

Energy Science

Nutrition Science

Animal Behaviour and Communication

Biodiversity Conservation

Palliative Care

Paediatrics

Behavioural and Conservation Ecology

Evolutionary Ecology of Microorganisms

Marine Ecology

Theoretical Ecology

Ecology and Agroecology

Renewable Energy

Energy Systems Engineering

Hydrology

Environmental Chemical Engineering

Chemical Engineering

Magnetic Separation of Minerals

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  1. Scientists and attendees may register on December 25, 2016. Activities will begin on December 26, at 10am, and will conclude on January 4, 2017, at 6pm. There will be an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017.
  1. The electronic address to register as a listener/observer is: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx
  1. Two hundred Zapatista bases of support—women, men, children, and elders—of the languages Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Tojolabal, Chol, Zoque, Mame, and mestizo, will attend as students. The Zapatista students are the only ones who may direct questions to the scientists who present.
  1. The gathering will have general sessions, information sessions, and workshops.

That’s all for now.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico, December 2016

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/12/15/informe-sobre-el-encuentro-ls-zapatistas-y-las-conciencias-por-la-humanidad-subcomandante-insurgente-moises/

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DESPITE AGGRESSIONS, THE CONSULTATION CONTINUES

pizap-com14146218007771-1

DESPITE AGGRESSIONS, THE CONSULTATION CONTINUES
JOINT COMMUNIQUE BY THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS AND THE ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION.

December 2, 2016.

TO THE PEOPLE OF MEXICO:

TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD:

TO THE FREE MEDIA:

laconsultava-350x298The steps taken by our peoples are great, steps wise when taken in collectivity, and the National Indigenous Congress turns with attentive ears to listen to each other, to the thoughts of we who are the word and the agreements of the 5th CNI. We continue in permanent assembly, traveling to all corners of our country, Mexico.

Our permanent assembly arises from and convenes among the peoples, nations, and tribes of all the languages spoken by the National Indigenous Congress; in large and small assemblies; in meetings of communal councils, in deep reflections by dispersed families; in regional forums and ceremonial spaces. In our collective words, we continue to conclude that it is the time of our peoples, time for the earth to tremble at its core.

The fears of the powerful, the extractive companies, the military, and the narcoparamilitaries are so great that our consultation is being attacked and harassed in the places where our peoples are meeting to discuss and decide the steps to take as the CNI. For that reason, we denounce the following:

– In the indigenous Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán, there is intensified narcoparamilitary harassment by the Caballeros Templarios [Knights Templar] cartel, which threatened, on a paper signed on November 19, 2016—the same date that a regional assembly on the coast of Michoacán was discussing the resolutions from the first stage of the 5th CNI—to undertake a “cleansing” of those participating in mobilizations alongside the community police.

– As agreed upon in the assembly of the 5th CNI in October 2016, our compañeros have travelled to different geographies of the country where originary peoples have requested dialogue with delegates of other peoples with respect to our political proposal. These compañeros have been victims of aggressions and harassment by criminal gangs or unknown people, including the burning of homes in their communities and aggressions by vehicles trying to push them off the roads they must travel.

– While foreign companies attempt to take control of 12 oil wells in Zoque territory in Northern Chiapas, this past November 23, 2016, a group of armed men pretending to be government-sponsored teachers, and with the consent of the Subsecretary of Federal Education in Chiapas, Eduardo Campos Martínez and the boss, Delfino Alegría García, kidnapped a group of indigenous professors from the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE) in the northern zone of Chiapas. They also attacked them with high-powered weapons outside the office of the Secretary of Education in the municipality of Ixtacomitán, Chiapas. The sneak attack claimed the life of Zoque teacher Roberto Díaz Aguilar, originally from Chapultenango, Chiapas, and injured three others.

– The teacher Irineo Salmerón Dircio, Coordinator of the House in Justice of San Luis Acatlán and member of the Regional Coordination of Community Authorities (CRAC-PC), was kidnapped/disappeared by an armed group in the municipality of Tixtla, Guerrero. Two days later his lifeless body was found in the municipality of Chilapa, Guerrero, just a few days after at least 15 communities from the Indigenous and Popular Council of Guerrero Emiliano Zapata had held an assembly in the same municipality as part of the consultation we are currently carrying out.

– From the collective heart of the originary peoples of the National Indigenous Congress, we pronounce our absolute respect for the territory of the Sioux people, in Standing Rock, North Dakota, where more than 200 tribes are organizing to stop the plunder the capitalists are trying to impose through oil pipelines which destroy water sources and ceremonial sites. We condemn the brutal repression these tribes were subject to this past November 20, and the repression planned against them with the announcement of an ultimatum to vacate their lands. If we originary peoples had ever responded to the ultimatums of the powerful, we would have ceased to exist centuries ago. To the Sioux People we send a brotherly embrace and we reiterate that they are not alone, that their pain and rage are ours, also. We call on the originary peoples of the United States and Mexico, on the free media, and on civil society to strengthen their solidarity with this historic struggle.

We send a greeting of solidarity to the compañer@s of the community Chanti Ollin, adherents of the Sixth Declaration of the Lacandón Jungle, who were violently evicted—in the middle of the night on November 22, 2016—from the building where they promote culture, art, and the alternatives necessary for a new world. We repudiate the repressive, sellout policies represented by the bad government of Mexico City.

We salute the mobilizations held by the Committee in Defence of Indigenous Rights (CODEDI) from the coastal region of Oaxaca against the repressive policies of the bad governments who, for lack of any valid reason, use criminalization as their only recourse to impose 11 hydroelectric projects in the coastal region of Oaxaca, including the Multi-Use Hydraulic Exploitation Project Paso de la Reyna.

Likewise, the peoples, nations, and tribes of the CNI express our profound respect for and solidarity with the Cuban people, who have shown the world that through dignity we can reconstruct the fabric unravelled by capitalism. We know that their resistance and rebellion will continue shining and concretizing hope.

Attentively,

DECEMBER 2016

FOR THE FULL RECONSTITUTION OF OUR PEOPLES

NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US

NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

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Convocation For The Second Phase Of The Fifth National Indigenous Congress

 

cni

Given that:

1. During the first phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress, we analyzed and discussed in depth the different faces of the capitalist war on our peoples. We agreed that it is urgent to halt the displacement, destruction, disrespect, oblivion, and death to which our peoples are subjected and which seek to put an end to our individual and collective resistances and leave our homeland in the hands of the capitalists that govern this country and this world.

2. It is urgent to struggle, to take serious steps and go on the offensive alongside the peoples of the countryside and the city, indigenous and non-indigenous, to construct a new nation from below.

3. We agreed to remain in permanent assembly while carrying out a consultation in all of our geographies on the resolutions reached October 9-14, 2016, with respect to the formation of an Indigenous Governing Council, to be represented by an indigenous woman who is a CNI delegate who will run for the Mexican presidency in the electoral process of 2018.

WE CONVOKE THE SECOND PHASE OF THE FIFTH NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS:

15032912_1292407087490057_6691877084545519357_nTo be held December 29, 30, and 31, 2016, and January 1, 2017, in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventik. This Congress will have decisive capacity with regard to the agreements proposed in the first phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress as well as with regard to any agreements reached during this second phase. The Congress will be carried out according to the following schedule:

December 29:

  1. Arrival and registration of CNI commissions.
  2. Opening ceremony.

December 30: Closed plenary session to discuss:

  1. The installation of the second phase of the Fifth National Indigenous Congress.
  2. The report on the results of the internal consultation by the commission named for this purpose.
  3. Evaluation of the results of the internal consultation in work groups.
  4. Determination of the paths the CNI will take in the face of capitalist displacement, repression, disrespect, and exploitation, and the strengthening of our resistances and rebellions.
  5. The steps to be taken toward the constitution of an Indigenous Governing Council for Mexico.

December 31: The work group discussions continue.

January 1: Plenary Session in the Zapatista Caracol of Oventik.

With regard to the above, and based on the agreements, reflections, and results that come out of the work around the internal consultation that is being carried out in each of the geographies of our peoples, we ask the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress to name delegates who will discuss and agree upon the steps to take. These delegates should register at the official email address: catedratatajuan@gmail.com.

In addition, as agreed during the general meeting of the Provisional Coordinating Commission held November 26, 2011, at the UNIOS facilities in Mexico City, we ask that the results of the consultation—as acts, minutes, pronunciations, or other forms that reflect the consensuses reached according to the methods of each people, nation, or tribe—be submitted by December 15 at the latest to the email address: consultacni@gmail.com.

The points put forward in this convocation will be discussed in closed sessions December 30 and 31, 2016, in which EXCLUSIVELY CNI delegates may participate. Compañer@s of the National and International Sixth as well as accredited media may participate in the January 1, 2017 plenary, or in any moment that the assembly deems appropriate.

Members of the National and International Sixth, special invitees of the CNI, as well as media who want to participate as observers in the open sessions of the second phase of the Fifth CNI should register beforehand at the email address: cni20aniversario@ezln.org.mx.

Attentively,

cni-ezln__-1November 26, 2016

For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/11/26/convocatoria-a-la-segunda-etapa-del-v-congreso-nacional-indigena/

EZLN: A Story To Try To Understand

 

 15095549_1293498127380953_2083436102030824954_n

November 17, 2016.

To the national and international Sixth:

To those who sympathize with and support the struggle of originary peoples:

To those who are anticapitalists:

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:

Brothers and sisters:

We wrote this extensive text together, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson and current head of the EZLN, and I, consulting on certain details with some of the Comandantas and Comandantes of the Zapatista delegation who attended the first phase of the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress.

Although now, as on other occasions, the task of actually writing it down falls to me, it is Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés who reads, adds or subtracts, approves or rejects not just this text, but all those published as authentic writings by the EZLN. Not infrequently through these writings, I will use the first person singular pronoun. The reason for this will be understood later on. Although the primary audience of the following lines is the Sixth, we have decided to extend it to those who, without being with us or one of us, have identical concerns and similar work. Here goes:

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…NEITHER OUR NIGHTMARES

0___laconsultava-copiaSome years ago, the creativity and ingenuity of some collective of the Sixth produced a phrase which, with the passage of time, was attributed to Zapatismo. As you know, we are against copyright, but we don’t usually claim words or actions that are not ours. However, although not of our authorship, the statement does in part reflect our feelings as Zapatistas.

Put forward by the Sixth, which was attacked with crude blackmail and threats (as is the case once again) for their skepticism toward the “power” of the institutional electoral ballot boxes, the phrase reaches further and defines what is lacking and limited in one form of struggle, the electoral one:

Our dreams don’t fit in your ballot boxes,” it was and is said.

As Zapatistas, we subscribed to this statement then…and now. It has the virtue of saying a lot in few words (now a forgotten art). But, from this side of the ski mask, from who we are, we add: “and neither do our nightmares.”

Sure, we could have said “and neither do our dead,” but it turns out that, in these fateful times, pain has extended even further. It is no longer just natural death that is responsible for separating us from those we miss today. In our case, for example, this includes Insurgent Infantry Sublieutenant Hernán Omar (one of our own since before the uprising, snatched from our side and that of his compañera and son by cancer; we send them a special embrace on this first birthday without him). Now this separation is increasingly caused by murder, disappearances, prisons, and kidnappings.

If you are poor, you’re vulnerable; if you are a woman, you’re even more vulnerable. It is as if the system wasn’t satisfied with attacking you for what you are, and gave itself the macabre task of eliminating you altogether. That is, you aren’t just the object of sexual assault and violence. What has happened in this system that makes “natural” and even “logical” (“yes, they were asking for it,” society says) not only rape, but also kidnapping, disappearance, and murder of women? Yes, women. The democratization of gender-based hatred equalizes ages, races, colours, heights, weights, creeds, ideologies, and activism or its absence. All differences, except that of class, are diluted in one major flaw: being a woman.

Sure, go ahead and add more possibilities according to your difference: colour, stature, weight, indigenous, afro-descendent, little girl, little boy, elder, young person, gay, lesbian, transgender, your particular way of being, whatever it might be. Yes, this is a system now devoted not just to segregating and disregarding differences, but determined to eliminate them completely. And not just to exterminate them, but to do so with all of the cruelty that modernity is capable of. Death keeps killing, but now more sadistically.

So, what we want to say is that we’re not just missing the dead, but also the disappeared [l@s desaparecid@s] (and with the @ symbol we include not just the masculine and feminine, but also all those who transcend the false gender dichotomy), the kidnapped [l@s secuestr@das], the imprisoned [l@s encarcelad@s].

How many of the missing from Ayotzinapa fit in how many ballot boxes? In which political party project can they be found? Which institutional logo incorporates those who we’re missing?

And what if we’re not even sure that they died? What if it’s not just their absence which hurts, but also the added uncertainty and anguish? (Has he eaten? Is he cold? Is he sick? Has he slept enough? Is anyone comforting him? Does he know I’m still looking for him, that I’ll always be looking for him?)?

The women who have been assaulted, disappeared, murdered across the entire ideological spectrum—in the aspiration for what office, position, or government do they fit?

How many ballots are equal to the children murdered by the PAN [National Action Party] in the ABC Daycare?

Those across the vast expanse of the geographies and calendars of Mexico below who have been exterminated by the PRI [Institutional Revolutionary Party] and its poorly-concealed replicas—whom should they vote for?

In which vote count do those persecuted by the PRD [Party of the Democratic Revolution], accused of the crime of being young people, fit?

Which political party represents the sexual differences, persecuted in public and in private, who are sentenced to a hell on earth and in death as well?

Which logos and slogans of the institutional political parties stain the walls that thousands of migrants—men, women and children—must crawl over only in order to fall into the hands of politicians/criminals/business people responsible for human trafficking?

One could find examples in chronicles, blogs, news reports, press releases, opinion pieces, hashtags, etc., but the certainty always remains that there are many more criminal deeds that get no public mention at all.

Where are the polling place where we denounce the exploitation, repression, displacement and contempt for originary peoples?

In which ballot box should we deposit the pain and rage of the…

Yaqui,                                        Mame,

Kumiai,                                      Huave,

Mayo,                                        Tepehuano,

Cucapá,                                     Matlatzinca,

Tohono O´odham                      Chichimeca,

Raramuri,                                  Guarijío,

Kikapú,                                      Chuj,

Pame,                                       Jacalteco,

Totonaca,                                  Lacandón,

Popoluca,                                  Comca´ac,

Nahua,                                      Wixárika,

Maya Peninsular,                      Kanjobal

Binizáa,                                     Chontal

Mixteco,                                    Chocho,

Hñähñü,                                    Tacuate,

Totonaca,                                  Ocuilteco,

Mazateco,                                 Kekchí,

Purépecha,                               Ixcateco,

Mixe,                                         Motocintleco,

Chinanteco,                              Quiché,

Mazahua,                                  Kakchiquel,

Me´phaa,                                  Paipai,

Téenek,                                    Pápago,

Rarámuri,                                 Cochimí,

Chontal,                                    Ixil,

Amuzgo,                                   Kiliwa,

Ópata,                                       Aguacateco,

Solteco,                                     Mame,

Chatino,                                    Chol,

Papabuco,                                Tzotzil,

Triqui,                                        Zoque,

Cora,                                         Tojolabal

Cuicateco,                                 Tzeltal?

Where does all that fit?

When did the dictatorship of terror and its perverse logic obtain legal status to invade everything and readjust the criteria?

 

I was lucky, says any man or woman assaulted in the street, at home, at work, on public transportation, they didn’t shoot/stab me.

 

I was lucky, says the woman who has been beaten and raped, they didn’t kidnap me.

 

I was lucky, says the child subjected to prostitution, they didn’t burn me alive.

 

I was lucky, says the gay, lesbian, trans, other [loa otroawhose bones were broken and skin lacerated, they didn’t kill me.

 

I was lucky, says the labourer, the employee, the worker subjected to more work hours and a lower salary, they didn’t fire me.

I was lucky, says the tortured social leader, they didn’t disappear me.

 

I was lucky, says the young student murdered and thrown in the street, my family won’t have to look for me.

I was lucky, says the displaced indigenous community, they didn’t exterminate me.

And more:

What poll takes into account the destruction of the Earth? Who do the contaminated waters, the animal species cornered into extinction, the infertile earth, the dirty air, vote for? Where should we deposit the ballot of a dying world?

So it’s true: “our dreams don’t fit in your ballot boxes.”

But neither do our nightmares.

Everyone can be responsible for their own dreams. What remains is to hold accountable those who are responsible for our nightmares. What remains is yet to come…

 

ONE “YES,” VARIOUS “NOs”

dsc_0286Yes, the initial and original proposal is ours, from the eezeeelen. We introduced it to the delegates of the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress [CNI]. This happened October 9, 10, 11 and 13 of the year 2016, at CIDECI-Unitierra in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. On these dates there were delegates from the originary peoples, collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, and nations from the Amuzgo, Binni-zaá, Chinanteco, Chol, Coca, Náyeri, Cuicateco, Kumiai, Lacandón, Matlazinca, Maya, Mayo, Mazahua, Mazateco, Mixe, Mixteco, Nahua, Ñahñu, Ñathô, Popoluca, Purépecha, Rarámuri, Tlapaneco, Tojolabal, Totonaco, Triqui, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, Wixárika, Yaqui, Zoque, and Chontal languages. On October 13, 2016, the plenary of this Fifth Congress of the CNI decided to adopt the proposal and submit it to a consultation among its members. On October 14, 2016, in the morning hours, the CNI and EZLN made this decision public in the document called, “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core.”

-*-

No, neither the EZLN as an organization nor any of its members will run for a “popularly elected office” in the 2018 elections.

No, the EZLN will not become a political party.

No, the EZLN will not present an indigenous Zapatista woman as a candidate for the presidency of the Republic in the year 2018.

No, the EZLN has not “altered its course” to any degree, nor has it reoriented its struggle to the institutional electoral path.

 

So, the EZLN won’t be running an indigenous Zapatista woman for president of the Republic?

 

They won’t participate directly in the elections of 2018?

No.

 

Why not? Because of their weapons?

No. Those who think that are categorically incorrect: we Zapatistas took up arms to make use of them, not to be enslaved to them.

So then, is it because the institutional electoral political system is corrupt, unfair, fraudulent and illegitimate?

No. Even if it were transparent, equitable, just and legitimate, we Zapatistas would not participate in order to gain and exercise Power through holding political office, position, or institutional appointment.

But, in certain circumstances, for strategic and/or tactical reasons, would you participate directly in order to be able to execute a particular job post?

No. Not even if “the masses” demand it of us; not even if this “historical juncture” needs our “participation”; not for “the Homeland,” “the Nation,” “the People,” “the Proletariat” (ok, that one is already really outdated), or whatever other abstract or concrete concept is hoisted up as a pretence (disguising, or not, some personal, family, group or class ambition); and despite the moment, the convergence of the stars, the prophecies, the stock market, the manual of historical materialism, the Popol Vuh, the polls, the esoteric, “the concrete analysis of concrete reality,” and the convenient etcetera.

Then why?

Because the EZLN does not struggle in order to take Power.

-*-

dsc_0298You think they didn’t offer us this and more before? That they haven’t offered us [political] office, perks, positions, embassies, consulates, “all-inclusive” foreign travel, in addition to the budgets that go with them? You think they didn’t offer to convert us into an institutional political party, or incorporate us into one of the already existing ones or the ones that will form in order to “enjoy the privileges of the law” (as they say)?

Did we accept? No.

We weren’t offended; we understand that ambition, or lack of imagination, or short-sightedness, or the lack of knowledge (as well as, of course, not knowing how to read) have led some to the imperative to join an institutional political party, then leave it and move on to another, then leave it and form another, and then onto whatever follows. We understand that the excuse of “changing the system from within” still works for some. For us, it does not.

But, in the case of the Zapatista leadership and troops, our negation isn’t only in the face of institutional Power, but also in the face of the autonomous forms and processes that the communities create and intensify day after day.

For example, no insurgente or insurgenta, whether from the commanding ranks or the troops, and no comandanta or comandante from the CCRI [Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee] can be authorities at the community level, or in the autonomous municipality, or in the different bodies of autonomous organization. They cannot be autonomous advisors, or Juntas de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Councils], or hold commission duties, or any of the responsibilities designated by assembly, created or yet to be created in the construction of our autonomy—that is, our freedom.

Our work, our task as the eezeeelen is to serve our communities, accompany them, support them, not rule them. Support them, yes—sometimes we achieve that. And yes, true, sometimes we get in the way, but then it’s the Zapatista communities who give us a smack (or several, depending), so that we correct ourselves.

-*-

All this would not need to be clarified and reaffirmed if there had been a close reading of the text titled “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core,” made public the morning of October 14, 2016.

No, we did not participate in the writing of that declaration. The text was written by the provisional commission named by the CNI assembly and then passed on to us. We didn’t add or take out even a single comma or period.

We made it our own exactly as the delegates of the CNI wrote it. But, as we have seen, functional illiteracy does not respect ideological borders nor political party symbols: expressions, evaluations, and opinions which vacillate between racism and stupidity have emerged from across the political spectrum. Yes, we’ve seen part of the institutional (and marginal) left intelligentsia coincide with that panista [PAN party supporter] defender of “feminism,” “honour,” “honesty,” “inclusion,” “tolerance”: Diego Fernández de Cevallos, who now dedicates himself, along with Antonio Lozano Gracia (the esoteric version of “Law and Order”) to hiding ex?governors on the run.[i] Has anyone forgotten La Calderona[ii] applauding furiously when the aforementioned Fernández de Cevallos, as 1994 presidential candidate, referred to women with the “affectionate” term of “viejerío” and to campesinos as “calzonudos”?[iii] Is La Calderona the symbol of the empowerment for women up above, or simply a front for a dissatisfied psychopath? Is anyone fooled by the fact that she still uses her “maiden” name?

As we will tell you later on, the CNI delegates to the Fifth Congress warned that the deep-seated racism in Mexican society was an obstacle to moving the initiative forward.

We told them it wasn’t just racism, but that in the Mexican political class, there is also a deep disrespect. For that class, originary peoples aren’t even a hindrance anymore, just an old piece of furniture that should be tossed to the past adorned with quotes from the Popol Vuh, multi-coloured embroideries and second-hand dolls. Politics above sees through indigenous people, as if they were the forgotten glass beads of some conquistador, or the anachronistic remains of a past trapped in “magisterial” codices, books, and conferences. For institutional politics, originary peoples do not exist, and when they “reappear” (as they say above), then it’s the dirty manoeuvring of some perverse and all-powerful mind. After 524 years, they only conceive of indigenous people as incompetent, stupid, and ignorant. If the originary peoples do something, it’s because they’re being manipulated; if they think something, it’s because someone is misleading them. For the politicians above, across the political spectrum, there will always be a “foreign enemy” behind indigenous peoples.

The world of institutional politics is not only incredibly closed-off and compact—no. It is also where “popularity” reigns over rationality, beastliness over intelligence, and shamelessness over a minimum of decency.

The fact that the paid media tamper with information in order to convert it into a commodity is common knowledge. In any case, reporters have to eat somehow, and it’s understandable that for them, the “news report” that the EZLN will run a Zapatista woman in the elections will sell more than telling the truth—that it’s the CNI who will decide whether or not to participate with one of their own delegates, and in that case, she can count on the support of Zapatismo.

We understand that the lack of information is also a commodity. Reporters and editors earned their daily bread, okay (yes, you’re welcome colleagues, no, no need to thank us, no really, I’ll pass).

But for those who claim to be educated and thinking people who supposedly know how to read and write and who have access to a minimum of information, teach in centres of higher education, have emeritus status, collect their grants and salaries without fail, and travel around selling “knowledge”—for them not to read what the document “Let the earth tremble at its core” clearly states, and then go say and write all kinds of foolishness, well that…how do I put this gently?…that makes them shameless charlatans.

It’s as if the 140 characters and the sealed glass house of the media have become a wall that negates reality, that expels it and declares it illegal. Whatever doesn’t fit in a tweet doesn’t exist, they confer and agree among themselves. And the paid media know it: “no one will read a 6-page document closely, so we’ll write a summary of whatever and the ‘opinion leaders’ on social media will accept it as truth.” Thus follows a whole string of nonsense which hastens a hysterical purging which may provoke the collapse of the immense kingdom of the blue bird.

Imagine the contempt these people hold for the originary peoples whose existence they do not even recognize. Despite the fact that the text clearly states “an indigenous woman delegate of the CNI,” the magic of stupidity erases “of the CNI” and replaces it with “of the EZLN.”

And then? Well, next comes a cascade of positioning, commentaries, opinions, critiques, condemnations, likes and dislikes, thumbs up and down, and more than a few raised middle fingers.

When someone who did take the trouble to read the original text timidly indicates that the possible candidate would be from the CNI and not the EZLN and that, ergo, it’s not the EZLN who will participate in the elections, everybody comes down on them: “nah, it’s all a crude manipulation by the sockhead.[iv]

Then there were those who demanded, almost immediately, that we first “liberate” Chiapas (yes, that’s what they wrote). Of course, since in Chiapas one can find the territories of the Yaqui, Kumiai, Rarámuri, Nahua, Zapoteco, Mixteco, Chinanteco, Totonaco, Popoluca, Peninsular Maya, Wixaritari, just to name a few. When they were mocked they tried to correct their error and at least consulted google as to who the hell were these other indigenous people “manipulated by the sockhead,” realizing then that these people don’t live in Chiapas (which, by the way, would imply that the manipulative abilities of the deceased one exceed the boundaries of the “mountains of the Mexican southeast”).

After consulting with compa lawyers, I asked Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, and [the answer was] no. On our behalf there would be no lawsuits taken to the CONAPRED (National Commission to Prevent Discrimination) for violation of the first article of the Political Constitution of the United States of Mexico and the Federal Law to Prevent and Eliminate Discrimination, nor against the tribunals for disclosing “inexact or false” information which causes “a grievance, whether political, economic, of honour, private life and/or image.”

No, we do not know whether the National Indigenous Congress (which has in its ranks more than a few specialists in jurisprudence) will conduct any suits in that respect.

We also do not know if the students, readers, followers and those who pay their salaries and grants will proceed judicially against them for fraud (fraud: deception, giving the appearance of truth to that which is false), according to Article 386 of the Federal Penal Code: “A person who deceives someone or takes advantage of a mistaken belief in order to illegally obtain something or achieve undeserved profit, is committing fraud.”

-*-

However, there have been, are, and will be legitimate and rational doubts and questions (the great majority but not all from compas of the Sixth). In this text we will try to answer these doubts and questions to the extent we can. Our words will almost surely not be sufficient. But we will take into account all of the critiques, from across the political and ideological spectrum, made with a minimum of rationality, respect, and accurate information that correspond to us.

Here it is necessary to make one thing clear to everyone: the proposal is no longer in the hands of Zapatismo. As of October 13, 2016, the proposal ceased to be only ours and became a joint one shared by the Fifth Congress of the CNI.

What’s more, as of the day that the CNI consultation began, the acceptance, rejection, and/or modification of the proposal corresponds strictly and exclusively to the originary peoples, collectives, organization, barrios, tribes, and nations organized in the National Indigenous Congress. Not to the EZLN. The result of this consultation and the corresponding decisions, if there are any, will be made known during the second phase of the Fifth Congress, December 29, 30, and 31 of 2016 and January 1 of 2017, in Chiapas, Mexico, or before if the CNI so decides.

-*-

Of course, you might be asking why we made this proposal, if we continue to think the way we have said we do since the beginning of our struggle, and that we have once again ratified today. Well, that’s what I’m going to tell you now.

When Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés told me that it was my job to explain this to the Sixth, I asked him how I should do it. “It’s simple,” he answered, “just tell them what happened.” So that’s what I’ll do…

A SMALL, SHORT GENEALOGY

We haven’t been able to determine the exact date. The two of us agree that it was in the years 2013-2014. Although the deceased SupMarcos wasn’t dead yet, his death had already been decided and Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés was already the head of the EZLN and the first sightings of the Hydra began to emerge more clearly.

I don’t know how it is out there, but here ideas don’t arise in any particular moment, nor do they have a precise author. They are born and later they gain shape, sometimes managing to achieve the form of a proposal, later an initiative. Others, the majority, remain as just ideas. It takes months, years, sometimes decades to cross over from idea to proposal. And if this occurs, it is enough for the idea to become concretized in words in order to begin its stumbling path.

The idea also did not come from a formal meeting. If you pressured me, I’d say it began in the wee hours of the morning amid coffee and tobacco. We were analyzing what the various sentinel posts detected, and the profound changes that, although in existence for a while already, were now becoming manifest in the Zapatista communities.

I’d say that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés initiated the idea. I’m almost sure something so hare-brained and absurd would not have come from me.

But whatever the case, it wasn’t until SubMoy said it out loud that we began to think about it seriously, through the famous Zapatista method of turning the idea over and over until we get to where we want to be, that is, the “day after.”

Let’s begin at the beginning, that is, with the difficulties and obstacles. If these are big enough to qualify as a challenge, then the idea goes to the second phase: what it has going against it. After that, and only after that, we analyze what it has going for it, the pros. That is, we don’t decide whether to take it forward until we know if it’s worthwhile. So first is the question of what, then the cons and the pros of the how, then the where and the when (the calendar and the geography), and at the end of the beginning, the who.

All of this doesn’t come from one person, but rather moves into larger and larger collectives. That is how, through questions, it gets rounded out, first by consulting the “elders” who are comités [CCRI] (we refer here to those of greatest seniority who know our history first hand), then consulting those who have been incorporated into the work of the organizational leadership, then those who are “suplentes” (that is, those who will replace the top ranks), then finally, those who are still training, the “candidat@s” (that is, those who are preparing to start doing this work). I’m talking here about hundreds of heads, of thoughts, of comings and goings of the word, of listening ears; I’m talking about a collective heart that begins to grow, becoming bigger and bigger.

The next step has to do with the answer to the question, “Who will do it?” If this corresponds to the autonomous authorities, then the consultation goes on to them; if it corresponds to the communities, then there is a general consultation, which includes everyone. If it doesn’t correspond to either of these entities, then we have to ask who it does involve, sometimes directly, sometimes indirectly. If that “who” answers in the affirmative, then we have to consult with everyone to determine if we support this initiative or not.

We were in this process for at least 2-3 years. That is, the idea came and went, never going further. A while later, I was told to feel it out with people close to us. I did so.

Another while later, at the dawn of this year of 2016, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés called me and said: “There’s work at hand, we have to talk about it.”

His tone unsettled me: the last time I heard that tone I ended up dead and reborn in a single day, just a little over two years ago. Nevertheless, I went to the meeting.

It must have been the first of January of this year, 2016, the 22nd anniversary of the uprising. There wasn’t anyone else in the hut of the General Command of the EZLN, which SubMoy has occupied as of over three years ago. The coffee was cold but there was sufficient tobacco. He explained to me in broad strokes, as he tends to do, as if he was thinking out loud. He explained the cons, the pros, and then he waited. I understood that it was my turn. The idea, as I already explained, had already been maturing for a while, so I limited myself to refining the cons and adding question marks to the pros. The “who” was beyond us, and everything that doesn’t have to do directly with us is an enigma. When SubMoy responded to my question of “who” with a laconic “the one with the birthday” (that is, the CNI, which turned 20), the uncertainty lessened: we had known each other for two decades and the National Indigenous Congress was the most solid initiative that had arisen since we emerged into public. The CNI had remained, with ups and downs, faithful to its roots, and although its pain was far from media coverage, it represented the sector most battered by the Hydra. Even so, this only heightened our doubt.

“The truth is,” I told him, “We can’t really know what will happen. This idea is going to unravel various knots and what will result is totally unknown. We don’t know if the National Indigenous Congress will accept, much less if the Sixth will understand. And well, since those above don’t think but rather react from the gut, they’re going to break things that it may be impossible to put back together. It is very risky. Right now, watching and analyzing what is going on out there, I think it’s more likely that it turns out badly then that it turns out well.”

SubMoy set his coffee cup aside and lit a cigarette. “Indeed, that is where you come in. You know well that our style is to prepare for things to turn out badly—remember the uprising and everything that followed. So, if things go badly, then we will need…”

I got ahead of myself and interrupted him: “An alternate plan?”

He laughed heartily and said, “No, we need someone to blame for it turning out badly.”

In broad strokes, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés recalled bits of the film “La Ley de Herodes,” and when I thought that he was going linger on the final speech of Representative Vargas (the history of a mediocre man who becomes a criminal and later a governing official, sound familiar?) he referred instead to the part about “There’s good news and there’s bad news.”

(Superfluous note: “La Ley de Herodes” is a film by Luis Estrada, with Martín Torres as directing assistant; story and screen play by Jaime Sampietro, Fernando León, Vicente Leñero, and Luis Estrada himself; photography by Norman Christianson; music by Santiago Ojeda; makeup by Alfredo Mora and Felipe Salazar. Along with “El Infierno,” also by Luis Estrada, with the great Joaquín Cosío in the cast in the role of “Cochiloco,” these are the only films that have managed to displace those of Jean Claude Van Damme from the top of the movie fan list in the Zapatista communities and encampments).

Later he added: “We have to plan first how to deal with the bad news.”

It didn’t take much to guess that the bad news was the failure of the initiative. And I’m not referring to its lack of success per se, but rather that it could be rejected by the CNI, who, if they accepted it, would become the indisputable protagonist of something that would astonish Mexico and the world.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés continued with the details.

“Look, the first thing that will worry the CNI is that they will be accused of betraying their word, that they will be stepping into shit, that they will be straying from their path, that they will be giving in. That they will be accused of letting themselves be convinced by the system and wanting money, that is, Power, to rule, to be like everybody else. They will be accused of surrendering, selling out. They will most certainly hear these critiques, but I am sure that they have the clear-headedness and thinking to respond adequately. But the problems is who will listen to them. They will be attacked harshly and won’t be given the opportunity to defend themselves.

But that is where we can help out. If we, that is, you, put yourself forward to receive the critiques and attacks, then the CNI will be able to see not only those who emerge to say something, but also the points in favor or against that they couldn’t make out until the proposal became public. All of this is going to help them decide yes or no.”

He continued on. He created something like a spoken portrait of exactly what has happened over the last 4 weeks. He said who would say what, who would be against and why, what the Ruler would think, who would be confused, who would be hopeful, who would extend their vulture’s wings, and who would support the whole process because they knew exactly what was at stake.

After several hours of questions and answers, I said, “But for this I don’t need to be present. A few communiques, maybe an interview would be sufficient. That’s how the media is, they will think that nothing has changed, that they can do the same as always. Those above, well, they are so predictable it’s boring. They’ll come out with their accusations of protagonism, manipulation, division. You’re right about one thing, they’ll definitely concentrate on one person. But, I repeat, none of that requires that I be in attendance. What’s more, they’re so predictable that even if I don’t say anything at all they’ll come out against me.”

“No,” said SubMoy, “you have to present the proposal. Not only because when they see you there they’re going to say it’s all your sleight of hand and the cons we expected will play out just as we expected, but also because the compas of the CNI will understand that it isn’t something that only has to do with the indigenous peoples. It’s bigger, much bigger.”

He lit another cigarette and continued:

“As big, or bigger, than January 1, 1994.”

That was no small claim, given who it was coming from. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés is not only a war veteran, but came to the EZLN long before the beginning of the war. On January 1, 1994, he was responsible for commanding the regiment that took the plaza of the municipal seat of Las Margaritas, while carrying the already lifeless body of Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro. Years later, he would become responsible for the Zapatista communities. On October 26, 2010, he was promoted to the rank of Subcomandante Insurgente, the highest rank in the EZLN’s military hierarchy. In 2012, “the day of the end of the world,” he was the one who organized and coordinated the silent mobilization of more than 40,000 men, women, children, and elder Zapatistas who, on that date, surprised the world. On February 14, 2013, he became Zapatista spokesperson and chief. Since then, all of our public words and any national or international initiative we make must have his approval.

He was and is right: the task is so, so terrible and marvellous that it could be bigger than that January 1, 1994 that marked us so indelibly.

“Even if the CNI rejects the proposal, just the act of thinking about it, discussing it, the dialogue itself will mean that they are no longer the same, because they will move from the “this is being done to us,” to “we are going to do something,” and this will take them to a new manner of thinking,” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés continued.

“And they won’t be alone,” he said almost at the end, “in addition to us, they will have at their side the arts and the sciences.”

Before leaving, I asked him why the National Indigenous Congress. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés got up to accompany me to the door and answered:

“Because they are the only ones who can do what we can’t.”

Later on what happened, happened. The democratic teachers’ organizations reaffirmed their rebellion; the originary peoples continued to suffer attacks, displacements, disrespect; the Hydra continued devouring worlds; and the CompArte exploded in colours, sounds, shapes, and movements that were merely the prelude to what was to come: a terrible and marvellous earthquake.

Still on the eve of the events, I asked Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés if there were any changes. “What we said before, prepare yourself to head out,” he answered me without adding anything else.

We arrived at CIDECI on October 9, when the afternoon was already hanging its stained clothes on the trees and houses. Later, when the night became master of calendar and geography, the CNI delegations began arriving. The road they had to travel to arrive was not a short one.

We had followed closely each and every process of the CNI, their public and private words. The CNI is the only space where the originary peoples can be heard. We knew that soon, to the number of murdered, disappeared, imprisoned, and beaten, would be added the cadavers of entire territories.

“When the territory of an originary people, nation, tribe, or barrio is displaced or destroyed,” our Tata Grande Juan Chávez Alonso used to say, indigenous Purépecha who was master and guide of the CNI and the EZLN, “the originary peoples who have their roots and home in it die with it. And when an originary people dies, a world is extinguished.”

We knew already at that point that in the work sessions and minutes of this Congress there would be fewer worlds. More than a few had arrived to say goodbye, although they did not know it yet.

We have to start, now,” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés told me, “we have to share the load….”

A PROPOSAL IS BORN

On October 9, 2016, it was already night-time when we asked to have some initial meetings with those who were arriving. We met in one corner of the CIDECI-Unitierra facilities. The Zapatista delegation sat across from the arriving CNI delegates. Let me tell you a little about the Zapatista delegation: there were 34 people, 17 women and 17 men. Of those, only 7 were “the elders”; the other 27 were comandantas and comandantes who had been children or youth when we rose up on the f January 1, 1994.

We greeted one another with a handshake. Everyone sat down except for Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and me. He gave me a signal. I started to speak, trying to remember everything that we had previously discussed, explaining what, more or less, would have to be repeated the next day, October 10, in the closed plenary, and then again in the open plenary on October 13:

We think that we must make a decision as the CNI and the EZLN. We have to decide if this Fifth Congress is like other meetings where we speak of our suffering, discuss our resistances, complain, curse the system, declare that we won’t give up, and then each of us goes back to our land to continue to keep track of the aggressions, displacements, injustices, and deaths.

Our pain reaches less and less people. Our dead don’t find the same echo that they once did. And this isn’t because people from the outside have become cynical or apathetic. It’s that the war that we have been enduring for a long time as originary peoples has now reached them too, it is in their streets, in their houses, in their schools, in their workplaces. Our suffering is now one among many others. Yet despite the fact that this pain now extends further and deeper, we are more alone than ever. There will increasingly be fewer of us.

Soon the CNI will not even be able to meet because they will not be able to leave their territories, either because of a lack of money, because of the bad government, because of the corporations, because of crime, or because of death that comes naturally or is imposed. A little further down the road we will only be talking amongst ourselves, knowing in advance what we are going to say.

You, delegates to the CNI, are here because you were sent here, because your peoples, nations, tribes, and barrios seek help, they seek words and listening ears to relieve and comfort them. You come to speak and listen. Your responsibility is to your people, not to anyone else. Everything is very bad and, you and we both know, it’s going to get worse. We have to do something.”

I told them an anecdote about something that happened to the deceased SupMarcos during the Other Campaign 10 years ago.

He explained that, in an originary nation in the Northwest of Mexico, he met with an indigenous leader. As in other situations, the deceased was criticized because that leader had previously received representatives of the institutional government. The deceased said that he had not been sent to judge, condemn, or absolve this man, but to listen because one day he would be needed. The indigenous leader met with him, separately and in private.

The leader said to the deceased: “I know very well that they didn’t want you to meet with me, that they have put pressure on you to not be here. They have also pressured me not to meet with you. I don’t know why you are here. I imagine that those who sent you here told you to come and see and listen. I don’t know. But I will tell you why I am meeting with you. I have met with the different government representatives. All of the different colours and sizes have shown up here. They come, they get their picture taken, they say a few words, they go, and they don’t come back. I have received them here because those that came before me told me that my duty was to make sure that my people, my community, does not die, to make sure that we survive. That is why I met with them, and that is why I am meeting with you. I don’t believe that you bring me advice or lessons, although it is good that you are not trying to get a picture and you listen instead of talking. I met with them because I think that doing so will allow my people to survive for a while longer, and not to die. That is why I am meeting with you, because I believe that you will see something of what we are, and that gaze, even if just for a little while, will help my people survive.” The deceased wrote all of this down in his notebook, that is why he had the exact words of the indigenous leader.

After saying these words, the leader was quiet. The deceased then asked for permission to speak. The leader granted him the right to speak. The deceased said, more or less (he didn’t write it in his notebook because he couldn’t speak and write at the same time): “Thank you for meeting with me. I only have one question: are you not worried that you have been wrong, that by meeting with the government or with me you have not helped to stop your people from dying and that you will be judged as a bad leader?”

The indigenous leader waited to see if that was the entire question, and then responded: “The only ones who can judge me are my own people. If my people condemn me for what I have done and what I do, that would mean that I wasn’t wrong. Because in order for them to judge and condemn me, my people will have to have survived. And that would mean that I have carried out my duty, and I can show the dead that I have done so, even if the living condemn me.”

That is the end of the deceased’s anecdote.

I continued speaking:

That is why you have to be very clear about who you are accountable to. You don’t owe anything to the EZLN. Nor to the Sixth. Nor to anyone but your own people, who you represent. You have to do something, because soon, for many people there will be nothing left and it will be too late.”

We told them that they had to do something, that their duty was to their originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations, to their collectives and organizations.

We told them to do something, anything; to join, if they thought it necessary, Morena[v] (this is in the recordings and the attending delegates can confirm it. That was the only time that, for our part, we mentioned the person who would later, before anyone else, delegitimize and condemn the proposal, demonstrating stupidity, racism, intolerance, disrespect, and frank schizophrenia.[vi] Yes, the first option that Zapatismo presented to the CNI was to support the political party Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional) [Morena]. Or to join any other political party. Or to make their own political party.

We said that we would not follow them in this, but we would understand why they did it and that they would not hear judgement or condemnation from us.

We said that if the Sixth got in their way, to leave it behind.

That if the EZLN held them back, to cut off relations with us.

We don’t need to tell you that, in response to each of these options, the delegates gestured as if they were swatting away impertinent flies. They all remained quiet. I continued:

Do something, be it this or something else.”

Here I looked back at Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. He gestured that I should continue:

We came to propose something else to you: we are battered, with deaths, disappearances, kidnappings, incarcerations, displacements, injustices, entire territories destroyed and others on their way to extinction. We are cornered, without hope, without strength, without support, weak and agonizing. For the politicians and the media, even those on the left or progressives, we don’t exist.

That is why we Zapatistas think that it is time to go on the offensive. The time has come to counterattack. And we have to begin by striking one of the hearts of the system: politics from above.

That is why we propose that the CNI form an Indigenous Governing Junta (that is what we called it in our original proposal; in assembly, as proposed by a Magonist indigenous delegation from Oaxaca, it became “Indigenous Governing Council”), a collective made up of delegates from the CNI which aspires to govern the country. It should compete in the 2018 presidential elections running an indigenous woman from the CNI as an independent candidate.”

No, in response to this proposal the delegates didn’t act as if they were swatting away an annoying insect. Rather, they got openly angry. Some were really annoyed (well, more precisely, they were pissed). Others said that it was a very bad joke, that it didn’t make them laugh and instead gave them a stomachache. But the majority waited in silence.

I should tell you that, for originary peoples, silence does not mean agreement, persuasion, or a lack of argument. It means listening, and—take note—thinking and analyzing before speaking (yes, it would do others well to follow this method).

Why did they listen to us? Because they consider us brothers and sisters. The mutual respect that we have for one another made them hear us out until the end.

And they understood that it wasn’t a passing thought, but an idea that could become a proposal. So they started to think about it.

After a long silence, someone began to speak, saying something like: “I’m thinking that this could be how we reconstruct the CNI, that this initiative could give visibility to the indigenous people once again. Because compas, we have to be honest, we don’t exist for the political class. They no longer even talk about us anymore as an object of charity. I think that with this proposal we could encounter not only other indigenous people, but we also many people from below who are screwed. There is much discontent all over the country, and there is no alternative for indigenous people, nor for those who are not indigenous. Of course, the proposal has many things going against it that we must analyze seriously.”

Someone else took up the word and mentioned two things working against the proposal: the racism that exists in Mexican society; and that they would be criticized and attacked for seeking Power. Both points against were repeated in later assessments as well. But no, not in this meeting nor in the ones to follow, did anyone mention as a point against the proposal that they would be accused of wanting to “divide the left.”

That is how the idea stopped being only our idea. That is how the CNI began to think about it and make it their own. The word spread far and wide. Soon, all of the delegations were thinking, offering opinions, and evaluating the proposal. The absurd idea began to be transformed into a collective proposal.

Words came and went during the closed plenary assembly on October 10 during the work sessions on October 11. Without failing to comply with the mandate the delegations had, the central theme of the meeting ceased to be denunciation. The possibility of going on the offensive became the most important thing. During the work sessions (there were 4) in which observers could attend, whenever the topic came up, some of the compas of the Sixth would move nervously in their seats, looking at one another (they weren’t allowed to speak, only to listen), turning to look at the Zapatista delegation (we had divided ourselves across the four work sessions in order to be able to have a complete account of all of the denunciations and experiences of the CNI delegations). More than one of them left, their irritation apparent.

A feverish movement ran through the meetings, large and small. Whoever was able to do so called their communities, explaining to them what was being discussed and asking for their opinions and feedback. The pros and cons were analyzed and discussed. They made lists of each. They weighed them. They sought an answer to the question, “Will it be worth it?”

The idea had already ceased to be the EZLN’s. It now belonged to the National Indigenous Congress. In the collective heart of the originary peoples, the echo grew of the initial words spoken by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, in the name of all of the Zapatista men and women:

Now is the time of the National Indigenous Congress. With its step, let the earth tremble at its core. With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished. In its words, let those without voice be lifted up. With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated. In its ear, let the pain of those who think they are alone find a home. In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope. In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.” But what was missing was yet to come.

Beyond evaluating the pros and cons, it had to be clear for the CNI what the role of Zapatismo was in this initiative.

Far in advance, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and the Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee had organized a small party to celebrate the birthday of the National Indigenous Congress which commemorated, on October 12, 2016, 20 years of being home, ear, word, and echo of the originary peoples of Mexico.

The place? The caracol of Oventik, in the mountains of southeastern Mexico.

The delegations of the CNI were received according to the Zapatista protocols for special invitees. Of course, there was an extra effort made to honour these visitors. It isn’t every day that we receive our closest relatives, those who share with the Zapatista peoples blood, pain, rage, resistance, and rebellion—that is, history.

At first I didn’t understand why Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés had arranged the positions of the delegations the way he did: the CNI delegations were seated on the main stage, and in front them he put a small wooden platform for the Zapatista leadership, which he led himself.

I could see everything because I was moving from side to side, trying to convince the compañeras and compañeros of the CNI to stand up on the benches to see better. “But I have mud on my shoes and I’m going to get the bench dirty,” argued a delegate. “Compañera” I said, “here if there is one thing that we have plenty of, its mud. Don’t worry about it.

The CNI named an indigenous woman to speak in the ceremony. Comandante David gave the welcome. Then the compañera from the National Indigenous Congress spoke. She spoke as one does among family: with her heart in her hand. I won’t repeat her words, nor the ones that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés shared on our behalf. The compañera from the CNI was about to leave the stage when Subcomandante Insurgente Moises asked her to stay.

The compañera stayed there for the entire proceedings, surrounded by the indigenous Zapatista leadership, facing the delegations of the National Indigenous Congress.

And then I understood.

I was looking from off to one side, but with the visual perspective of the CNI delegations who could see how an indigenous woman just like them, from the National Indigenous Congress just like them, was accompanied by the highest authority of the EZLN who were sheltering her, protecting her, accompanying her, and supporting her, taking note of what made us different, but compañeras and compañeros all the same.

That was how, with this symbolism, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés responded to the question that had circulated through the CNI delegations from the very first day: “What role would the EZLN have in this initiative if it is approved?”

Afterwards there were dances, theatrical performances, songs, and poems.

At the end of the proceedings, a troop of Zapatista milicianas performed a whole communiqué without saying a single word.

And afterwards? The food: beef and turkey, with the choice of coffee or pozol. Everyone left soon after.

On the following day, October 13, was the general resolution assembly…

WHY?

October 13th started off auspiciously: one of the work sessions hadn’t finished yet and the plenary assembly was delayed. When it did begin, it started with a reading of the minutes from each work session. And yes, one of the sessions hadn’t finished transcribing yet. There was further delay, as there should be for any important decision. Oh, I know. It’s pointless to say it; we ourselves are the constant and ongoing update of the software “la rebelión de los colgados.[vii]

On Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés’ orders, the Zapatista delegation sat in the back of the auditorium at CIDECI-Unitierra during the three plenary assemblies (the closed assembly, the inauguration, and the final plenary). That was to make clear what this was about: it was the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.

When we finally got to the topic of “Proposals to strengthen the CNI,” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés asked for the floor on behalf of the Zapatista delegation. It was granted him and he went to the front of the auditorium. He began more or less like this:

“I’ve heard about a movie, I think it’s called “La Ley de Herodes” (general laughter, and a grimace from me because I knew what was coming). So in this movie they told me about there’s a part where Vargas says, ‘I’ve got good news and bad news (more general laughter, more personal grimaces). So we have to see what we’re going to do about the bad news. In other words, we have to see who we’re going to blame if this turns out badly. That said, I’m going to ask SupGaleano to come explain the proposal (more general laughter, now no grimaces from me).

I went to the front of the auditorium. After clarifying that I was happy to do my duty as “punching bag,” or “alternative plan,” and that being the target of critique and insults was a powerful aphrodisiac for me (well, I used more mundane terms, but that was the idea), I said what I was charged with saying. I will repeat it here in summary form, as this text is already several pages long and if you’ve gotten this far, you deserve special consideration. What’s more, now you will know why the eezeeelen made this proposal and why we made it to the CNI.

First we insisted that the original proposal was for an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, who spoke her indigenous language and knew her culture. We started there because the designation that it be “a woman” had been diluted in conversation and throughout the work sessions. First people began to say “the candidata or candidato,” later “the candidato or candidata,”and then just “the candidato.”

Then we reminded everyone that they could not make a decision there, in that Fifth Congress, because the National Indigenous Congress, as of their formation as such, had made a commitment to consult their peoples on proposals made in their meetings. The seven principles obligate the CNI to consult its own bases, each group according to its own ways.

Then we said what we believed with respect to the initiative:

That the Indigenous Governing Council should be composed of delegates (men and women) from all of the originary peoples, collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, and nations that make up the National Indigenous Congress.

That they wouldn’t win, because the electoral system in Mexico is made to benefit the political parties, not the citizens.

That if they did win, the victory wouldn’t be recognized because fraud is not an anomaly in the Mexican electoral system, but rather its backbone and essence.

That if they won and were recognized, they wouldn’t be able to do much at all, because up there above there is nothing that can be done. The fundamental issues of the battered Mexican nation will not be solved by the executive power, nor the legislative powers, nor the judicial power. The Ruler has no visible post and operates in the catacombs of international financial Power.

And not in spite of all of the above, but precisely because of it, they could and should carry out the proposal.

This is because their action would imply not just a statement of their disagreement, but a challenge that would find echo in the many belows of Mexico and the world. It could generate a process of combative reorganization not just for the originary peoples, but also for workers, campesinos, employees, poor city dwellers, teachers, students, in effect, all of the people whose silence and immobility is not a synonym of apathy, but rather because they haven’t been convoked.

In response to what had been said about the initiative being impossible, that it had too much going against it, that they wouldn’t win, we answered that if we had gotten together on December 31, 1993, and told them that in just a few hours we were going to rise up in arms, declare war on the bad government, and attack the barracks of the police and the army, they would also have said that such a thing was impossible, that there was a lot going against us, that we weren’t going to win.

We told them that it didn’t matter if they won the presidency of the Republic or not, that what mattered was the challenge, the irreverence, the revolt, the total rupture with the image of the indigenous as object of pity and charity (an image deeply rooted in the right and, who would have thought, also in the institutional left of “true change”[viii] and its organic intellectuals, addicted to the opium of the social networks). What mattered was that their audacity would shake the entire political system and that they would hear echoes of hope not from one but from many of the Mexicos below… and the belows of the world.

We told them that the initiative allowed time for them to decide, with total freedom and responsibility, where and how far they wanted to take it.

We told them that they could decide in any given moment what they would do, because it was their pace and path, and that the destiny they charted would rupture every existing schema, above all those represented by those who believe themselves to be the vanguard of change and revolution.

We told them that if they were willing to challenge a racist society, they should go further and challenge a patriarchal and machista one as well (which isn’t the same thing, as those in the feminist struggle can tell you).

We told them that the Zapatista comandantas had said that they would be responsible for setting up support for the compañeras who became part of the Indigenous Governing Council and the compañera who became spokesperson and candidate, caring for their children in Zapatista communities. They said they would take good care of the children, as if they were their own. That the children would go to the autonomous schools so they didn’t get behind in their studies, and the solidarity doctors would watch over their health. That if they had pets, they’d take care of those too. They said the compañeras of the CNI could do their work without worry if that was the mandate of the agreement the CNI came to.

We told them not to worry if they didn’t know how to speak Spanish very well. Peña Nieto doesn’t either and there he is.

We told them that we would reorient the savings we keep for our resistance and make a call to individuals, collectives, and organizations in Mexico and the world to raise money for them to go wherever they needed to go. That way they would have the freedom to refuse the institutional economic resources that the system gives to independent candidates.

We told them that we thought they could not only govern our country of Mexico, but the entire world.

We told them to take this opportunity to speak and listen to other originary peoples, and to others who aren’t indigenous but are suffering without hope or alternatives all the same.

We told them that there are things that we as Zapatistas can do that the CNI can’t. And that there are things the CNI can do that we as Zapatistas can’t.

We told them that they, the collective that is the National Indigenous Congress, could do what nobody else (including Zapatismo) could do: unite. Because a legitimate movement like that of the originary peoples can and should be a point of unity among many different people with a common resolve.

But this wouldn’t be to “unite” under one particular acronym, or hierarchy, a whole list of real or fake acronyms. No. We mean unite as a point of convergence, to be the footing where differences and rivalries find a common point, a place to meet. The ground, that is, the earth. And who better for that task than those who are the colour of the earth.

We told them that this Council and this indigenous woman could generate a movement that could shake the entire political system.

A movement where all of the belows would converge.

A movement that would make the earth tremble at its cores.

Yes, cores as plural, because there are many worlds that lie within the earth and await a good shaking to be born.

We told them that perhaps, then, it wouldn’t matter if they got the signatures together, if the money to be able to travel was raised or not, if they managed to meet the requirements for candidate registry, if the other candidates showed up for debate, if they participated or not in the elections, if they won or not, if their victory was recognized or not, if they could do something there above or not.

We said none of that would matter because the problems would then be different ones, the questions different ones, the answers different ones.

We told them that we would not pass on to them our phobias and philias, that we would respect their decisions, their steps, their paths.

We told them that as Zapatistas we would be one more force among the many who would surely feel convoked by this challenge.

And we told them that the most important thing that we had come to tell them was this: that we were ready to support them with all of our strength. We told them that we would support them with everything that we have, which, although small, is what we are.

 

-*-

The interventions in the conversation continued, now all of them oriented toward making the proposal theirs, as the CNI. Here and there someone requested that they decide on the spot. The great majority insisted that they had to consult.

The commission transcribing the minutes gave us a copy of the final resolution.

I instinctively grabbed a pen in order to start adding commas and periods.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moises stopped me and murmured, “No, this is their word. And their word is big, much bigger than we are as Zapatistas. Like the deceased one used to say: we are the smallest, and it is our turn to step to the side and wait…”

 

THE ZAPATISTA INTERNAL CONSULTATION

We could just give you the results and leave it at that. But we think if we tell you about the process you might understand it, and us, better.

As of October 15, 2016, the Zapatista delegation to the Fifth Congress of the National Indigenous Congress, along with the CG-CCRI [Indigenous Revolutionary Clandestine Committee—General Command] of the EZLN began the work of organizing an internal consultation to determine the opinion and decision of the Zapatista bases of support with regard to the principal proposal.

We carried out the internal consultation in each and every Zapatista community, collective, region, and zone. We also consulted the compañerascompañeros, brothers, and sisters from the city who participate in the various support teams for the EZLN’s Sixth Commission. We did not include the Zapatista insurgent troops in the consultation because it is not our job to make those kinds of decisions.

We carried out the consultation according to our ways of doing things and following a guide that Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés developed the morning of October 14, 2016, before the text “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core” was made public.

  1. Information: In each community, collective, region and zone, the first thing we did was provide information on what was said during those days of October, 2016. That information included the suffering of our brother and sister communities of the National Indigenous Congress, and all of the terrible things the capitalists do to originary peoples—exploitation, repression, disrespect, theft, and the killing off of entire peoples. But that wasn’t all; this information also included how those peoples organize and resist that politics of death and destruction. For that task we used the information provided by the provisional commission of the CNI in the text entitled “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core,” as well as the summaries made and notes taken by the Zapatista delegation during this first phase of the CNI’s National Indigenous Congress.

This point is very important because it is with this information that we converted our sisters and brothers, compañeros and compañeras, into an ear and a heart for the suffering and resistance of others like us in other places. This point is very important and urgent because who will listen to us if we don’t listen to each other.

  1. The proposal: We stated and explained the proposal: that the National Indigenous Congress name an Indigenous Governing Council (which is like a Good Government Council, but at a national level, that is, in all of Mexico), made up of men and women who are representatives of each of the collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, nations, and peoples who are organized in the National Indigenous Congress. That is, this Council would be made up of indigenous peoples who would govern the country.

This Indigenous Governing Council would be collective, that is, not with one person ruling, but rather together making agreements in order to govern. This Indigenous Governing Council wouldn’t just do whatever it wanted, but rather would listen to the peoples throughout Mexico, indigenous and non-indigenous.

In other words, this Council would function on the seven principles of Rule by Obeying: to serve others, not serve oneself; to represent, not supplant; to construct, not destroy; to obey, not command; to propose, not impose; to convince, not defeat; to work from below, not seek to rise.

This Indigenous Governing Council would have as its spokesperson an indigenous woman from the CNI (not the EZLN), that is, a woman of indigenous blood, who speaks her originary language and knows her culture. So the spokesperson would be an indigenous woman from the CNI.

This indigenous woman from the CNI is the person who would be the candidate to the Mexican presidency in 2018. This is because it is not possible to list all of the names that compose the Indigenous Governing Council because of the confusion that would create, so the name listed would be that of the Council spokesperson. This indigenous woman would not be part of a political party, but rather an independent candidate. That’s what you call someone who is in an election but does not belong to a political party.

So this Indigenous Governing Council, alongside the Indigenous woman from the CNI, would travel through as much of Mexico and the world as possible in order to explain the situation that we are living because of the capitalist system which exploits, represses, steals, and disrespects the people from below, the poor of the countryside and the city, and that in addition is destroying nature and killing off the world in which we live.

This Indigenous Governing Council would try to speak and listen to all of the Indigenous people of Mexico in their own communities, regions, zones, and states in order to convince them to organize, not to give in, to resist and to govern themselves as we Zapatistas do, and to not let anyone tell us what we have to do or how to do it but that it be the people themselves who decide and rule.

This Indigenous Governing Council would also try to speak and listen to those who are not indigenous but who are also exploited, repressed, robbed, and disrespected in Mexico and the world. It would take them a message of organization and struggle, resistance and rebellion, to be carried out according to their own ways, calendars, and geographies.

For this indigenous woman, CNI delegate, to be recognized as a candidate by Mexican law, they would have to get almost a million signatures of people who are registered to vote. If they managed to reach that many signatures, then she would be recognized as independent candidate for the Mexican presidency and her name would appear on the ballot in 2018 when people decide if they will vote or not and for whom. So the proposal is that the Indigenous Governing Council and the indigenous spokesperson travel throughout Mexico and wherever there are Mexican people in order to acquire the necessary signatures to be able to register a candidate. Later they would again travel around to generate support and get people to vote for the CNI indigenous candidate.

As Zapatistas we think that when the Indigenous Governing Council and their spokeswoman make this journey, they will see much of the pain and rage that exist in Mexico and the world. This is the pain and rage of indigenous people but also of people who are not indigenous but suffer and resist all the same.

So that’s what it’s about. The goal isn’t that an indigenous woman of the CNI become president, but rather that a message of struggle and organization be taken to the poor of the countryside and the cities of Mexico and the world. It’s not that if we get enough signatures or win the election then everything will have turned out well. Rather, things will have gone well if those who nobody speaks to or listens to are actually addressed and heard. That is how we will know if things go well or not—if many people gather their strength and hope in order to organize themselves, resist, and rebel.

How far can this go? As far as the National Indigenous Congress decides.

  1. Later we stated and explained the points the proposal has against it. For example:

—they will criticize us saying that as Zapatistas we have said that we don’t struggle for Power but now we are trying to get Power.

—they will criticize us saying that we have betrayed our word that we do not want to hold office.

—they will criticize us saying that we speak badly of the political parties and now we’re going to do exactly what we have been criticizing.

—they will accuse us of supporting the PRI because we would divide the votes for the left and thus allow the right to win.

—they will criticize us saying that indigenous women aren’t educated and don’t know how to speak Spanish.

—they will disrespect us saying that we indigenous people don’t have the thinking skills to govern.

—they will mock us and speak badly of us as indigenous people.

(Note to racists and sexists: before you began your attacks, we indigenous Zapatistas already knew what you were going to say. And you think that we are dumb and ignorant and you are intelligent and wise.)

The compañeras and compañeros participated in the assemblies, commenting on other things that could be points going against the proposal.
For example, they mentioned security, that the government could launch an attack on the National Indigenous Congress and the candidate so that they wouldn’t win; that the bad governments could attack the Zapatista communities so that we wouldn’t support the CNI; that the government might try to pull some dirty tricks so that the struggle of the CNI couldn’t move forward, because the bad governments are indeed tricksters and traitors; that the political vultures might come around to see what kind of individual profit they could make off the struggle of the indigenous peoples; that there would be people who want to detour the struggle of the indigenous peoples to another path, and so on.

  1. Then they provided the points in favour of the proposal. For example:

—it could serve to let Mexican society once again see and hear the Indian peoples of Mexico, which now they don’t even mention.

—it could serve to help hear and speak to indigenous peoples throughout Mexico who are not organized and are being destroyed by the damned capitalists.

—it could serve to help the indigenous recreate a sense of pride and honour in being indigenous, in their colour, their language, their culture, their art, their history.

—it could serve to help indigenous women lift their voices and organize, just as the Zapatista women have risen up and organized.

—it could serve to explain to people below the magnitude of the destruction and evil that the damned capitalists are carrying out.

—it could help others learn about the National Indigenous Congress and their ways of organizing and urge other indigenous peoples, nations, tribes, and barrios to join the CNI and get to know each other as indigenous people and see each other’s pains and strengths.

—it could help us Zapatistas find a way to support our indigenous brothers and sisters in other places so that they can continue their struggle and live with freedom and dignity.

—it could help us as Zapatista peoples by letting more people come to know our history of struggle and how we have organized, and thus be encouraged to so, too.

—it could serve the Zapatista peoples in helping us learn to organize not only to help each other internally, but to be organized to support others who struggle, like we did for the democratic teachers’ organizations.

  1. Then we went on to think about whether the proposal would serve the purposes of the National Indigenous Congress or not.
  2. Then we went on to think about whether this idea would serve the Zapatistas or not.
  3. Then we went on to discuss whether or not we support this proposal, and if so, how we as Zapatistas would not be able to offer support, and then how we as Zapatistas could offer support.

For example, we couldn’t offer support in the form of signatures because we Zapatistas aren’t registered to vote. We also couldn’t be candidates because as Zapatistas we do not fight for Power. We could not vote because we don’t vote by putting a piece of paper in a box, but rather by making agreements in our assemblies where everyone participates and offers their word.

But we could support in other ways, for example: we could help explain this good idea and convince those who do register to vote to use their registration to support the indigenous woman from the CNI. We could speak with people from the city who support us as Zapatistas to support the Indigenous Governing Council also. We could organize ourselves as collectives and autonomous governments to raise money to support the CNI’s travels wherever they need to go. We could speak and convince people in the cities to also organize themselves to raise money for the CNI. We could explain in Mexico and the world how we govern ourselves so that people of good thinking can see that we as indigenous do know how to govern.

-*-

We also informed all of the communities about another agreement made at the Fifth Congress: that if in the Zapatista internal consultation (or that of any of the originary peoples, collectives, organizations, barrios, tribes, and nations) the decision is not to support the proposal, that it is a bad idea and they are not in agreement, then the National Indigenous Congress will respect that decision, even if the majority has said that they do support it. That is, that group will continue to be part of the CNI; it isn’t the case that if a group disagrees then they are obligated to do what the majority decides. The autonomy and ways of each group will be respected.

We do the same thing in the Zapatista indigenous communities. We don’t look badly upon or expel from being Zapatista those who think differently; rather we respect them and take them into account. That is how it is in our assemblies—just because someone’s thinking goes against what the majority says doesn’t mean we kick them out, they continue on as one of us.

As you can see, the internal consultation was focused on whether we would support or not the result of the CNI consultation. These are the results:

Tens of thousands of Zapatista men and women were consulted. They immense majority advocated for supporting the decision made by the CNI to the extent of our abilities. Those against supporting the decision numbered 52 compas (26 compañeras and 26 compañeros). Those who said “I don’t know” or “undecided” numbered 65 compas (36 compañeras and 29 compañeros). The reasons given by those who were against were varied: from one compa who said “I’m going to vote against to see if it’s true that they’re going to respect my opinion and not expel me from being Zapatista,” to those who argued that they weren’t going to be in their community and didn’t want to make a commitment they couldn’t keep with regard to the work implied. Those who said they were undecided said, among other things, that if we didn’t even know what the CNI was going to say yet, then what if we supported the proposal and they decided not to do it.

WHAT SHOULD YOU EXPECT?

 

Compas:

This is the last part. Thank you to those who got this far…wha?…yes of course, stay tuned… yes… doubts, of course…questions, of course…what? What will be the result of the CNI consultation? You want a spoiler?…okay, okay, okay, let me ask…okay…I am told to tell you the truth, so here goes:

To be sincere, we don’t have the slightest idea.

In all seriousness.

We have seen before how a proposal gets shaped by the work of the word, according to the ways of the originary peoples. It is as if an idea was just a shapeless lump of clay and it is collective hands that go about giving it shape, size, colour, destiny.

So, just like you, we’re waiting.

Although, it’s true, we Zapatistas aren’t waiting for the same thing that you all are.

You all, we think, are waiting to see what the result of the consultation is and everything that will derive from that.

We Zapatistas are waiting for what will happen later, the day after. And we are already preparing ourselves for that calendar.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico

November 2016

From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog

Don’t think I haven’t prepared myself for the possibility that the result of the CNI consultation is to reject the proposal. And no, I’m not worried. I have taken the appropriate measures. For example: I have a medical certificate that says I am on the waiting list for a sex change operation, and I have an application in process for my adoption into a Zapatista indigenous family. So you can say it was all a trick so that I would be the candidato…okay, okay, okay, the candidata for the presidency of the Republic.

Oh, my perversity is sublime, is it not?

Of course, that path would wreck my correspondence with the females. Oh wait, there isn’t any correspondence anymore, not female nor otherwise. Ah, if I was on the social networks I’d create a few alternate accounts (oh please, you know you do that) and I’d give myself likesfollows and retweets; I’d even troll myself to make it clear that everything was t-o-t-a-l-l-y-l-e-g-i-t. Is there a limit to how many alternative accounts one can create? Oh please, you know you’ve already looked this up.

Anyway, something will come to me.

Now then, if the proposal is approved, well I’ll have to get to work to raise money. So I’m going to get in contact with loas compañeroas from Brigada Callejera so that they hold a corner for me in La Meche. After all, the street belongs to those who work it. I’m sure my little belly will be all the rage… wha?…okay, okay, okay, my belly…huh? Oh fine, my big belly… didn’t I tell you? You guys are so mean.

SupGaleano, busting out of various girdles (fajas).

(no, thank you, no for real, I don’t need anyone to come stuff me into a girdle (fajar)[ix] ….ooooooh listen to that, now we’re showing our true colours, that was a total 60-something pun…ooh but hey listen, that’s why the well behaved goody two-shoes don’t like you, eh…huh? A reality show to raise some cash? With Trump, Macri, Temer, Putin, and Rajoy exchanging nude photos? Sonofa…you shouldn’t watch TV anymore… better to watch TV series acquired through alternative production…yes, the vendors on Eje Central [avenue in Mexico City] already have the new season of Game of Thrones…yup, turns out that Tyrion and Snow are relatives of Daenerys…however you say it… yes, a dragon for everybody, a message of equity…yes, united on the new shield are the lion, the wolf, and the dragon …well yes, some version of the Hydra… yes, as if you united big financial capital with industrial and commercial capital…yes, the system recomposes itself and everybody above is happy and everybody below is fucked…yes, but you are watching an alternative ending… yes, while everybody is grabbing their glass to celebrate who knows what, an indigenous woman shows up, shits on the iron throne and melts it with a blowtorch … well okay, they’re considering taking out the blowtorch out and giving her a box of matches, so it takes a little longer, for suspense you know… yup, maybe even another season, depends on how many matches she’s got…yup, that’s where it ends… well because of the Brexit thing, costs were going through the roof. And now with Trump, well, even worse…What? I should quit with the spoilers? Well jeez, why do you invite me then, you know how I am).

I testify.

Meow-woof

[i] Refers to Veracruz governor Javier Duarte currently on the run from the law after a warrant was issued for his arrest on charges of links to organized crime and money laundering.

[ii] A reference to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and likely PAN candidate for the presidency in 2018.

[iii] Viejerío is a derogatory term that could be translated as something like “a gaggle of broads.” Calzonudos is a pejorative term used against Indigenous peoples whose traditional style of pants were mocked by the Spanish and their descendants for supposedly resembling underwear.

[iv] “Cara de trapo” or “sockhead” is a derogatory term used by critics to deride members of the EZLN (and their use of masks) and in this instance refers specifically to Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

[v] Movimiento de Regeneración Nacional (MORENA), is the party founded by Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) and acolytes after leaving the PRD in 2014.

[vi] This refers to comments made by López Obrador in response to the CNI communique “Let the Earth Tremble at its Core.”

[vii] Rebellion of the Hanged, the fifth in B. Traven’s six-volume series of novels set in the lead up to and dawn of the Mexican Revolution.

[viii] MORENA’s campaign slogan.

[ix] Technically fajar means swaddle or wrap up, but as slang means to grope or feel up.

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EZLN: It’s Not The Decision Of One Person

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November 2016

For the [l@s] racists:

Well, we’ve been reading and listening to everything you’ve been saying and writing.

We’ve seen all of your mockery, your scorn, the racism that you can no longer hide.

I believe that the compañeros and especially the compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress [CNI] are also reading and listening to what you say.

It’s clear that the CNI was right about what they thought and what they told us, that there is a lot of racism in society.

I imagine you amuse and applaud each other over what a good joke you made with your leftist mockery about the EZLN’s “candigata.[i]

You celebrate your machismo making fun of indigenous women.

You say that we ‘fucking Indians’ let ourselves be manipulated, are unable to think for ourselves, and go like sheep wherever the shepherd points.

But I think when you say this you are actually looking in the mirror.

That’s what you turned out to be: shameless machista racists.

You all talk so much about the racism of the exploitive class and don’t realize you have taken on that racism in body and soul, in your form of thinking, your way of talking, your perspective on life.

Your individualism and egoism doesn’t let you see anything else or any other way, as if you could save yourselves by yourselves, or as if you yourselves could save any other living being.

You don’t realize that you are stuck in your individualism, closed off in your own lives, unable to see that the little that is left is almost gone.

We tell you first to learn to read, then read carefully, then learn to understand what you have read.

Because those who have written in newspapers and social networks are pathetic.

Supposedly some of you have doctorates or honorary doctorates or whatever you call it but it turns out that you don’t know how to read or write; you haven’t understood anything.

Or perhaps you do understand, but you like to create a lie, make it grow, dress it as the truth, repeat it and shout it and spread it around so people don’t realize it’s a lie; or maybe you just don’t know how to read or write.

Thus you mock the decision of the National Indigenous Congress which has gone out to consult the thousands of people in their communities, tribes, nations, and barrios who will decide if they are or are not in agreement [with the proposal].

You make fun of the fact that the National Indigenous Congress functions like that, consulting before making a decision, because you all just do whatever your shepherd tells you, even if it is stupid nonsense.

You claim to be thinkers, critical ones, but you remain silent when your shepherd comes out with his idiocies, because you are just as racist and disparaging as he is.

The National Indigenous Congress is consulting on whether their people will name an Indigenous Governing Council to govern our country of Mexico, a Council be represented by an indigenous woman, delegate of the CNI, who would be candidate for the presidency of Mexico in the 2018 elections.

This is what was announced the morning of October 14, 2016.

That is what was written in the text; it is clear and it is in Spanish so that you all can understand it. The text does not say that the EZLN is going to consult its bases of support as to whether they want to run an independent candidate for the EZLN, an indigenous woman who is a Zapatista base of support, and that they will also consult the National Indigenous Congress about whether they agree with this proposal.

It says nothing of the sort, but you all are lazy and ignorant and don’t want to read or pay attention, so you just swallow what is sold by the paid media.
You purport to be so studious, with so much advanced technology, and you don’t even bother to read. You just grab something from what the paid media puts out and then write about it.

You don’t read the text from its original site, nor what it actually says, but rather become a bunch of gossips that don’t even know how to say “National Indigenous Congress,” substituting instead “National Indigenist Congress” or “National Indigenous Council.”

What a shame that professional writers get paid to be ignorant.

How can you ask that people read or listen to you if you don’t read or listen yourselves?

Or is that you quite simply can’t be bothered to read it?

How can you ask to be respected when you don’t know how to show respect?

How can you expect to be understood if you don’t even understand how we make decisions communally? The results of this decision aren’t even in yet and already you have begun with your insults, lack of respect, mockery, and racism.

What a shame that you are so full of yourselves as lawyers, professionals, university professors, and researchers with awards and titles.

What a shame, because you say you are all these things but you don’t know how to read or write.

And it isn’t that you don’t have the means, because you are well-stocked with cellphones, tablets, computers, and everything else, but apparently you have these things for mere fashion and not for their usefulness. You have them only to show off who has the newest modern models.

But one thing is for sure, you do use these things to publish every racist and disparaging stupidity that occurs to you.

You mock us because there are only a few of us; there’s no need to concern oneself with the Zapatistas, you say.

You say that we Zapatistas are off in our mountains and don’t know anything about the world, that we are ignorant and backward, that we don’t know how politics works, professional politics, things that only educated people from the city know about.

It’s true, there are only a few of us.

Just some thousands of organized people, true.

We are only 23 years old and haven’t gotten far, just a few Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion where we have told the bad government to fuck off like true teachers of disobedience to the bad system and the bad government.

A few Autonomous Municipalities with health care services where one can access free surgery thanks to the support of conscientious doctor comrades who lend a hand.

With a few autonomous schools where one can truly learn to read and write.

With a few radio broadcasters, a few laboratory specialists, a few compañeras who operate the ultrasound equipment, a few dentists.

Where the people rule and the government obeys.

Ah, and one thing for sure: a few hundred thousand rages against the capitalist system in which we live and die.

There’s that, as well as everything we still plan to do, because we have no plans to stop.

Now then, could you tell us what you have done over the last 23 years?

And not that business of sniffing around for some crumbs or for somebody to throw you a bone, that is, a job or a title.

Because what we are doing here is a true demonstration of how to destroy the bad system, what must be destroyed and what must be created, a decision made by thousands and not just a handful of people in an office or on the order of one individual.

While you all in many cases have spent years talking and arguing without even creating a mirror so that you can see what it is that you are constructing.

Because what counts is when you can actually see what you have been talking about, not just hear empty words. What counts is not what just person one has decided, but what has been the decision of thousands.

-*-

How should one behave as a writer?

As a commentator or journalist?

Or as a seeker of a cabinet position or job appointment?

I think the answer would be not to criticize when you don’t know the actual situation, because you don’t live with those you are talking about.

It would be to inform yourselves honestly, scientifically, not repeat robotically what you have heard, or poorly read, or what the paid media have said.

It would be to not make fun of the people you are talking about and then later refuse to acknowledge what you said, or insist that wasn’t what you meant and that you have been misunderstood. When you do that it is clear that in addition to being ignorant, you are cowardly.

The answer would be not to assume you know everything if you do not live with the people you are talking about, nor study, nor read carefully, nor experience any of the things they experience.

What’s more, how can you be so smug if you have nothing to show for it?

You can’t even see your own shadow.

You have nothing to show for yourselves that is visible and tangible.

Because a slew of words is not the same as a visible deed, a practice composed of thousands of visions and thoughts.

So why do you mock and scorn?

-*-

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Ladies and gentlemen, to those who think so highly of themselves for having some organizational leadership position or who are so boastful of their degrees, we want to say:

As indigenous people of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation, we feel pity, sadness, and rage because you mock and disrespect us as indigenous people.

But despite this, we will struggle and fight for you too, for this Mexico in which we live.

We have more than 500 years of experience with the poor lives that the rich have inflicted on us, and for more than 500 years we have known how we want a good life to be.

And you?

How many five hundreds of years do you have that you can come mock and scorn us?

We have decided, along with our compañeras and compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress, to consult our communities as to if they are in agreement or not with creating an Indigenous Governing Council that governs all of Mexico, not just the indigenous, and that this Council participates in the 2018 elections through an indigenous woman delegate of the CNI as its representative.

We still don’t have the final decision as to yes or no.

We don’t even know what the decision will be, and look how much the originary peoples, especially the indigenous women, have been mocked and disparaged.

That means that those who attack us are not just those who exploit us. Rather, those who have tried to step on and over us with their critiques include the political parties, even the ones who claim to be on the left, the supposedly great intellectuals, professionals, researchers, commentators, writers, journalists, and university professors.

Who is missing?

Whoever else feels themselves interpolated can add themselves to this list of frauds.

Now even those smug people who treated us like children want to order us around. Let’s hope that someday their work is seen and put up for comparison. Let’s hope someday they tell the truth about why they left.

Let’s see, derisive and disdainful ladies and gentlemen: how many autonomous municipalities have you organized?

In how many of the places where you live do the people rule and the government obeys?

Where in your world are women, children, and the elderly respected?

Where is help given to those who have nothing?

Where do you have freedom, freedom according to you, to go out into the street or countryside without fear that you will be kidnapped, disappeared, raped, murdered?

Where do you have a government that isn’t full of criminals and prisons that aren’t full of innocents?

Did you do the math?

Now respond: why do you turn against the indigenous and treat them as if they have no brains and don’t know what they are doing?

Why, if we aren’t even messing with you?

We don’t even mention you and yet you accuse us of getting paid by the bad government to fuck you over, you accuse us of working for capitalism.

Nobody pays us to be what we are and we don’t work for anybody.

Because no one rules over us.

Perhaps that is why you attack us and disrespect us, because you are in fact ruled over and told what to think, say, and do.

You don’t like freedom because you like to be a slave.

As Zapatistas, we may do things well or we may do them badly, but we do them ourselves.

We don’t do what others, outside of us, tell us to do.

You should study and learn that what is fucking you over is called “capitalism” and not “the indigenous.”

It is fruitless for you to attack and mock us, because one day we will see each other, we will have to.

Who will obligate us to do so?

The system.

Learn this and stop throwing tantrums and fits because to struggle for the world is not a game.

-*-

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Ladies and Gentlemen who are intellectuals:

How is it that you don’t realize that the capitalists change their ways of thinking, exploiting, stealing, repressing, and disrespecting?

You are supposed to be profound thinkers but you are more like dry old trees that won’t bear any more fruit no matter how long you wait.

Now the land even where you live is contaminated, which is what capitalism is doing to it, and you continue to see and think the same things as if your heads had become deformed in the same process and there was no other way to exercise thought.

Leave your rooms, get up out of your chair, walk, lift your heads, looks for your eyeglasses so that you can see further and better.

Now imagine all of the possibilities of the combinations of what you have seen, and you’ll see that you get new ideas, not the same ones repeating over and over.

And if you didn’t manage to see anything, well then your eyes must be done for.

-*-

So now it seems that you want to tell us what SupGaleano should or shouldn’t do.

SupGaleano, just like the rest of the insurgent troops, does what I tell him.

And I do what the people tell me.

In that regard, it is up to me to tell SupGaleano to do what I say because I do what our people say.

If I tell him not to respond [to something someone has said or written], he doesn’t respond, because it isn’t worth the time.

And if I tell him to respond, he has to even if he doesn’t want to, and he has to respond clearly because he must help others understand.

If I tell him to give interviews, he has to give them, even if he doesn’t want to. I can tell him to give everyone an interview or only some people, and he has to do as I say. If I tell him only with the free media, that’s what he does. If I say the paid media also, that’s what he does.

For those who don’t want to understand this, what they will have to do is very simple:

First they will need to be subjected to death, destruction, and humiliation for more than 500 years.

Then they must organize for 10 years, preparing themselves to rise up as we did January 1, 1994. Then they will have to resist for many years, without selling out, without giving up, without giving in. Who knows if they can do it, because it’s one thing to write and another thing to do, that’s why we say theory is one thing and practice is another. This is what teaches you and gives you another vision without losing sight of your principles.

But we’ll see if we don’t get bored waiting for them.

We’ll see if we’re even alive then because what the capitalist beast will do in the meantime is so fucked.

Either they realize their lack of or limited vision or it will lead them down the system’s path toward death, and then there really is no remedy, and no one will even remember the tragic history that they played out.

So it can all be blamed on SupGaleano, who manipulates us and takes us down the wrong path?

It is laughable how now you say “Galeano/Marcos.”

You were so in love with SupMarcos that you came to take photos with him and get his autograph; I know because I was there off to the side.

Also off to the side was the maestro Galeano, whose name you did not even ask.

Then later you so hated SupMarcos because he didn’t obey you, but rather obeyed us.

Well he’s dead now.
Stop acting like his abandoned widows.

He’s dead, get over it.

Now there is a SupGaleano because that’s what we decided. And we put him out there so that you would attack and criticize him and thus reveal who you really are. It doesn’t matter what you say, not even the death threats. It doesn’t matter because that is what we trained him for, that is what we prepared him for and that is his work. And he can take it, not like you all who, after any little thing somebody says to you, cry that the world doesn’t understand you.

If we decide that he dies again, then he dies again.

And if you don’t like the way we do things, oh well. As if we were here to make you happy.

We are here for the people below and to the left, those who struggle, who think, who organize, and who resist and rebel.

We respect those people and they respect us because they know we are equals.

And we are with these people not only in Mexico, but all over the world.

So stop fooling the people in the schools where you give classes. You know nothing.

And the reason that you don’t know anything is because you lack both humility and honesty. You lost both among all of those papers and desks and medals and honours and other bullshit.

If in the end you understand and organize, well then we’ll see if you find yourselves another Subcomandante Insurgente Pedro, or another SupMarcos, because we haven’t found another yet.

But perhaps you will have better luck in finding them.

-*-

In the meantime, shut up and listen, read, and learn from the organized peoples, tribes, nations, and barrios of the National Indigenous Congress.

They are our families, and it is their turn to teach us, to show us the way.

It is our job as Zapatistas to learn from them.

Hopefully we all manage to do this, and the world will be more just, more democratic, and more free.

The cadaver of the capitalist Hydra lies beneath the bare feet of the originary peoples.

Not injured, but dead.

Thus we will have to make everything anew, but this time right, without an above or a below, without disrespect, without exploitation, without repression, without displacement.

That world will also be for you, you who are racist and disdainful of what you do not understand.

Because you do not yet understand that you don’t understand.

You don’t understand that you know nothing.

What is going to come out of this is not the decision of one person, but of a collective.

-*-

Later we are going to tell the Sixth what happened.

We didn’t tell them before because the National Indigenous Congress asked us to wait until they arrived safely to their communities and began the consultation. They asked us to be their guardian and wait and take the critique and scorn that would have been aimed at them.

So we waited and took it, and now all those we expected have popped up.

The National Indigenous Congress has heard them and read them; they know.

They know where the scorn and the racism comes from.

They know what the professional politicians think.

They know what the Ruler thinks.

They know what those who think they are saviours think.

The CNI’s skin is healthy.

Ours is wounded, but we are used to it and we scar over quickly.

-*-

The CNI is clear in its thinking.

Now we must wait for their decision and support it.

We know that the path that they choose for all of us originary peoples, tribes, nations, and barrios will be born of pain and rage.

It will be born of resistance and rebellion.

It will come not from an individual, not from a person.

It will be born of the collective, as indeed those of us who are what we are, are born.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico, November 2016

[i] “Gata” is a derogatory term for domestic workers. The author points to critics’ use of the term “candigata” instead of “candidata” (candidate) as a racial slur.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/11/11/no-es-decision-de-una-persona/

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CNI/EZLN: Solidarity With Santa María Ostula

Joint Communique From The CNI And The EZLN In Solidarity With The Indigenous Community Of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán

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November 4, 2016

To the Nahua community of Santa María Ostula, Michoacán:

To the peoples of the world:

To national and international civil society:

To the independent media:

The peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation manifest our profound condemnation of the actions carried out in unison by the bad governments and criminal groups against the Nahua indigenous community of Santa María Ostula, municipality of Aquila, Michoacán, in an attempt to crush their dignified and historic struggle.

These governments were not only complicit in the attack against Cemeí Verdía on May 25, 2015, but in fact freed those directly responsible, Juan Hernández Ramírez (then municipal president of Aquila) and José Antioco Calvillo. They [the government] imprisoned Cemeí Verdía on false charges and murdered the young boy Hidelberto Reyes García.

The bad governments now intend to arrest commander Germán Ramírez, fabricating criminal charges against those who struggle to defend the land and their families. At the same time, we see the regrouping of members of the Knights Templar cartel who are already reorganized and heavily armed in the eastern part of the municipality of Aquila.

The crime of the community members, the community police of Ostula, and the self-defence forces of the Sierra Costa of Michoacán was to refuse to accept the death and terror that the bad governments and organized crime in the region offered as the only option. In contrast, Ostula’s resistance and rebellion has not only shown us the dignity of an organized people, but demonstrated to the world that it is possible to build peace and justice in the midst of the destruction wrought by capitalists on this country.

ostula-2-391x269We denounce this new attack on the indigenous community of Ostula and hold responsible the bad governments, Enrique Peña Nieto, and Silvano Aureoles, accomplices of the Knights Templar leaders El Tena, El Tuco, Chuy Playas, and Federico González (Lico), who have been identified by the community on numerous occasions as those culpable of the murder of 34 community members and the disappearance of 6 more. We hold them responsible for the blood they want to see spilled in order to protect their capitalist businesses, for protecting instead of pursuing and arresting the Knights Templar leaders, for guaranteeing impunity to the soldiers who murdered the child Hidelberto, for seeking the dispossession of communal lands and natural resources at all costs, and for attempting to kill off the hope of this country that goes by the name Santa María Ostula.

We express our respect for and solidarity with that community’s mobilizations and want them to know that at the collective heart of the National Indigenous Congress shines an intense light fuelled by Ostula’s dignity. We call on the originary peoples and civil society of Mexico and the world, on the national and international Sixth, and on the honest media to be attentive and in solidarity.

November 2016

For the Full Reconstitution of our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/11/04/comunicado-conjunto-del-cni-y-el-ezln-en-solidaridad-con-la-comunidad-indigena-de-santa-maria-ostula-michoacan/

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Calendar For The 5th Congress Of The CNI And The Gathering “Zapatistas And ConSciences For Humanity.”

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

October 26, 2016.

To the invited and attending Scientists of the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity”:

To the compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the National and International Sixth:

Brothers and sisters:

We send you greetings. We write to inform you of the following:

First: Per instructions from the National Indigenous Congress, which at the moment is consulting with the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations throughout Mexico on the proposal made during the first phase of the Fifth Congress, we inform you that the permanent assembly of the CNI will be reinstated December 29, 2016, at CIDECI-UNITIERRA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas.

There the CNI will hold roundtable sessions on December 30 and 31 of this year. During these sessions, or before then if the CNI so chooses, the results of the consultation will be made known. On January 1, 2017, the plenary assembly will take place in Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico, and any agreements necessary will be made there.

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The compañeras and compañeros of the originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations who make up the National Indigenous Congress inform us that they have financial difficulties that impede their travel to this meeting, and so they request solidarity donations from the national and international Sixth, as well as from any honest people who want to support them in this way. To offer this support, the compas of the CNI ask that people communicate directly with them at the following email: info@congresonacionalindigena.org. From there they will explain where and how to send support.

Of course, if you think that by meeting, thinking, and deciding collectively on their path and destiny the compas of the CNI are playing into the hands of the right and endangering the u-n-s-t-o-p-p-a-b-l-e advance of the institutional left, you can make your support conditional on their obeying you, or add a note to your contribution saying something like, “I’m going to give you these 2 pesos, but don’t let yourselves be fooled and manipulated by that sockhead.” [i]

Or you can just make your donation and try, like the rest of us, to learn from them.

Second: We also take this opportunity to confirm that the Gathering “Zapatistas and ConSciences for Humanity” will be celebrated at the times and places originally announced:

From December 25, 2016 to January 4, 2017 at the facilities of CIDECI-UNITIERRA in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Mexico, with an intermission on December 31, 2016 and January 1, 2017. If you are interested in attending as a listener or observer, you can register to attend at this email: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx

Thus the presentations about the exact and natural Sciences and the work sessions of the National Indigenous Congress will take place simultaneously.

That’s all for now.16_16submarcos2definitivaweb2

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, October 2016.

From the Notebook of the Cat-Dog, section titled “neither stories nor legends”:

What Doctor John H. Watson will not tell.

Mountains of the Mexican southeast. It is raining a lot. You can just barely make out the shouts of those who continue working to make holes in the wall, giving each other instructions. There are some who have poorly protected themselves from the downpour with plastic ponchos, but most are just wearing soaked shirts, blouses, skirts and pants, raining once again over the earth.

The wall extends as far as the eye can reach. Despite its apparent strength, every so often there is a crease along its long curtain. It is said that those who inhabit these lands claim that the wall is capable of regenerating itself, and so they must not cease their efforts to keep a crack open. After consulting histories and legends that circulate among the inhabitants, it is concluded that the purpose of the wall is not just to keep them from seeing or crossing to the other side; it also convinces those who encounter it that there is nothing beyond it, that the world ends there, at the feet of its solid base and in the face of the infinite expanse, in length and height, of its surface.

Outside one of the huts near the wall, a little girl watches with her chin resting on one of her hands. Her eyes aren’t focused on the arrogant wall, but rather on the feet of those who strike and scratch at the wall. Or really, she is looking at the ground covered in mud and puddles.

gato-perro-1-21A little behind her, a strange being, similar to a dog, or to a cat, shelters itself in the threshold of the hut. The little girl turns to look at it and says: “Hey you, cat-dog, what, you scared of the rain? Not me. They don’t call me ‘Defensa Zapatista’ for nothing. You think that if we’re in the middle of a game and it starts raining we’re going to say, “oh no, I better get off the field or I’ll get wet?” No way. You can just fix your hair with your hand, and since it’s wet it stays smooth and forget about the rest. But it’s not like I fix it like that so I can go around flirting with fucking men. It’s so I can see when the ball comes and goes. If I don’t fix it, I can’t see. And it doesn’t matter if you’re in the hut, even if you’re a cat or a dog, you’re still going to get wet. Look, I just got an idea.”

The little girl enters the hut and then comes out with some pots, buckets, and empty tin cans. She starts placing them beneath the little streams of water dripping from the edges of the tin roof. It would seem as if she was positioning them randomly, but no. Every little bit she changes their location. The being whom the little girl calls the “cat-dog” barks and meows. The little girl looks at it and says: “Just wait, you’ll see what I’m doing.”

The little girl keeps changing the location of the pots and cans and, with each change, she mutes the sound of the raindrops hitting their surface. The little girl listens for a moment and then goes back to changing the places and sounds of this strange symphony.

She is immersed in this task when a pair of men arrive. One is tall and gangly, the other is shorter in stature, of average build. Both carry fine umbrellas and the taller one wears an elegant coat, some type of cap, and a curved pipe between his lips. They say nothing, they just watch the little girl come and go. At some point, the gangly one with the elegant overcoat coughs and says: “Excuse me miss, will you allow me to shelter you with my umbrella? That way you won’t get wet while you…while you do whatever it is you’re doing.” The little girl stares at him with hostility and responds, “My name isn’t ‘miss,’ it’s ‘Defensa Zapatista’ (the little girl puts on her best “get away from my pots and cans or you die” face). “And what I’m doing is making a song.” The man comments as if to himself: “hmm, a song, how interesting my dear Watson, how interesting.” The other man just affirms with a nod while he shelters himself in the doorframe, eyeing the dog suspiciously…well, the cat…well, whatever it is that’s next to him in the threshold.

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The man with the strange cap observes attentively the coming and going of the little girl. All of a sudden his face lights up and he exclaims, “Of course! Elementary. A song. It couldn’t be any other way.”

And, turning to the person who now shares the small space out of the rain with the cat-dog, he says, “Pay attention, Watson, here you have something which could never be found in one of those vulgar popularizations of the detective’s science with which you torment your few readers, that is, if you have any at all. Observe carefully. What the young miss…cough…cough…I meant to say, what ‘Defensa Zapatista’ is doing is combining the principles of mathematics, physics, biology, anatomy and neurology. By changing the positions of these strange metal receptacles and placing them beneath different rivulets of water, she obtains different individual sounds which together produce distinct combinations of notes which, I infer, will become a melody. Then, changing the rhythms, she will have music and from there, elementary my dear Watson, a song. Bravo!” The man has passed his umbrella to the other man under the doorframe and applauds with enthusiasm.

The little girl has left her work for a moment and stopped to listen to the man. After the applause, the little girl asks, “you mean a ton [ii] right?”

“A ton?” repeats the man, and then after thinking about it a bit exclaims: “Of course! Ton, tune. Yes, miss, a tune and not a ton, although it’s true that there are some tunes that are very heavy.”

The little girl furrows her brow and clarifies, “I already told you my name is not ‘miss,’ my name is ‘Defensa Zapatista.’ And what’s your name?

The man responds, “You are right, what bad manners that I have not introduced myself,” and, with a brief bow, introduces himself, “My name is Sherlock Holmes, consulting detective. And my companion, who is currently shivering from the rain and the cold, is Doctor John H. Watson, a debaser of science.” Extending his hand toward the little girl, he adds “And you are…yes, of course, you told me before, ‘Defensa Zapatista.’ Strange name for a little girl. Well, it seems everything is strange in these lands.”

The little girl ignores the extended hand, but appears interested. “Consulting detective…what’s that?” she asks.

I combat crime, miss, I investigate by observing, analyzing and applying science,” responds the man with poorly feigned modesty.  

Ah, like Elías Contreras, the Zapatista investigation commission,” interrupts the little girl. The man tries to clarify, but the little girl continues:

Well, look, I already talked to Elías so he would join our team, but it turns out he’s already dead and tending to the bad and the evil, that is, he’s investigating the fucking capitalist system. I told him he can still join the team, even though he’s deceased, but he says that supmarcos sends him off on investigations and so he wouldn’t make it to practice. The funny thing is that supmarcos is dead too. I think that’s why they understand each other. Of course, right now we can’t really practice that much because the field is all muddy and the ball doesn’t roll, it just gets stuck and no matter how much it gets kicked it doesn’t move, or it moves just a little and then gets lazy again. So you get all muddy for nothing and later your moms comes with her ‘you have to wash up’ and then off to the river. Do you like to bathe? I don’t like it. Only if there’s a dance, then I like it, because you can’t be all muddy when they start playing the song ‘la del moño colorado’ [the girl with the colourful bow]. Do you know that one, ‘la del moño colorado’? That’s a good song because you dance to it like this (the little girl hums while balancing lightly on one foot and then the other). You don’t just jump around like the young people these days who like that music and end up muddier than if they hadn’t bathed at all. But you know mothers, what do they care if there’s no dance? Nothing, you still have to bathe and if you don’t, there’ll be hell to pay. Do you have a mom? Well, look, just think about whether moms know or not. They definitely know. I still don’t know how it is that they know, but they know. You should investigate how it is that they know. I told Elías to investigate it, but he just laughed, the jerk. And SupMoy is even worse, you think he helps? If he’s around and your mom gives the order to bathe, you think he’ll defend you? Forget it, you have to obey your mom, he says. I complained to him one day about why it’s like that, if the struggle says to rule by obeying, it should be that the little girls rule and the moms obey. But he just laughed, the jerk. Well, look, pay attention because I’m going to explain something to you: it turns out we haven’t filled up the team. Why not? Well, because there’s no discipline, that is, they don’t understand the organization of the struggle. One minute they tell you they’re in and the next, they’re out, they took off on another path, for one reason or another. They’re all just excuses. Or if not, they say it’s because of the work of the struggle. As if playing wasn’t part of the work of the struggle? The deceased supmarcos would say children’s work is to play. Well, he would also say it’s to study, but don’t publish that, eh? So given that, we can’t complete the team, there’s no seriousness, as someone says. But don’t you worry, don’t despair because the team didn’t fill up quickly. We know it takes time, but one day there will be more of us. Since we can’t practice right now and they don’t let me join the work of making holes in the wall because it’s raining and I’ll get wet… can you believe they say that? As if I wasn’t going to get wet bathing anyway. The other day I wanted to give my moms a political lecture and I told her it’s not good for me to bathe because I’ll get wet, and in the autonomous school they say it’s not good for little girls to get wet because what if they get sick with a cough, right?

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But my moms just laughed, I think she didn’t understand the political lesson because she was just like, get yourself down to the river and make sure to wash behind your ears and this, that, and the other. Well, don’t you get distracted, whatever your name is. It turns out that, since I can’t practice and I can’t make holes in the wall, I started thinking and thinking. And now I just keep thinking and thinking. Not about silly things though, but rather about the struggle. So I thought that we need music for when we win the game. Because if there’s no music, we won’t be happy that we won, you understand? What are you going to understand, if you’re just standing there staring? Okay, I’ll explain. Look, the moms know, we don’t know how they do it, but they know. If you have a difficult question, you go to your moms and boom, they know the answer. Well, so it turns out that my moms told me something like a story the other day. She said that the deceased one said that the struggle needs science and art. I don’t know what science and art are, so then my moms explained it to me. I think I’ll explain it to you because you definitely don’t know. Look, science and art aren’t just that you do things however you want, half-assed, but rather that first you imagine how what you want to make will turn out, then you study how you’re going to do it, and then you go and do it. But not just any old way; rather you make it happy, with lots of colours and lots of music, you understand? Well, so I thought and imagined what our music should be when we win a game. Yes of course really happy music but not like for dancing, because it’s serious to win the game, even more so since my team is full of lumps, like the cat-dog here who barely obeys, it just runs and runs, and since its paws are a little twisted well, it tends to veer off to the side. So the song has to be cheerful but serious. It should be enjoyable and make your heart happy. Well so I was sitting here thinking about the music, I mean the ton of the song, and then my idea came. I was listening to the sound the rain makes when it falls, and I saw that it sounds different in each little puddle. So, I took out my mom’s pots and some cans and buckets from our women’s collective and now I’m here listening to how each one sounds and how they sound in collective. Because it’s not the same as an individual as in a collective, you see. In a collective, it’s happier, it sounds good. But each individually, it’s all the same, even if you change the bucket. Now if you put them together, it’s something else. Of course, the issue is how you put them together so that they sound good. You understand? I mean that’s where you bring in science and art and it comes out just right. Not like Pedrito who thinks he knows how to sing, but all he knows are Pedro Infante songs. You think he knows any about love? No, all songs about horses and drunks. And for nothing, because Pedrito twice over doesn’t drink, that is, he doesn’t drink because he’s a little boy, and he doesn’t drink because he’s a Zapatista. You think you’re going to find a wife if you sing to her about horses? No, never, never ever. And even worse if you sing to her about drunkards. If somebody sang to me about horses, it’d be for nothing because I already have one, it’s just that he’s one-eyed, which means that he sees out one eye but not the other. Well, the truth is that the horse isn’t mine, because he doesn’t have an owner. No one knows where he came from, he just appeared all of a sudden in the pasture. I quickly recruited him, as they say, for the team and made him goalie, but since he doesn’t see well I had to put myself on defence. But if somebody sings to me about drunkards, well yeah then, that calls for some smacks and to hell with them. My moms say that alcohol is no good, that it makes men dumb. Well okay, dumber than usual. And then they beat the women. Of course, now it’s different because we defend ourselves as the women that we are. I, as Zapatista defence, also train so that men don’t bother me when I grow up, that is when I grow into a young single woman. But don’t get distracted, write down what I explained to you in your notebook, write that science and art are really important…

At that, the cat-dog begins to bark and meow. The little girl turns around to look at him and asks, “Now?” The cat-dog purrs and growls. The little girl hurriedly enters the house, just as the rain lifts its wet skirt and the sky clears.

It’s no longer raining when the little girl runs out of the house with a ball in her hands. The cat-dog runs out behind her.

As she gets further away, the little girl manages to shout: “When you finish writing your notes, come. Don’t worry if the team isn’t full yet. It might take a while, but there will be more of us.

The man who is called “Doctor Watson” closes his umbrella and reaches his hand out to make sure that, in fact, it has stopped raining.

The man with the absurd cap keeps watching the little girl as she moves away. Then he takes a magnifying glass from his raincoat and stops to analyze each of the containers, now mute, without rain to make them sing.

Interesting, my dear Watson, very interesting. I believe it would be worth spending some time in these parts. The atmosphere is clean and the fog keeps reminding me of the London of Baker Street,” says the tall thin man as he stretches out his arms to better breathe in the air of the mountains of the Mexican southeast.

Spend some time, Holmes? Why?” asks the other man while he shakes off some lingering raindrops. “I don’t think we’d be much help, although this little girl seems to suffer from verbal diarrhoea, a tranquilizer would help…whoever has to listen to her.

No, Watson, we’re not going to help anyone. I only came to find an old acquaintance. But I think it will be difficult to find him…at least alive,” says the man as he puts away the magnifying glass and begins walking.

The other man rushes to catch up to him, asking, “Then what are we going to do here, Holmes?

Learn, my dear Watson, learn,” says the man as he takes out the magnifying glass again and stops to look at an insect.

As the two figures fade into the fog, once can hear in the distance barks, meows, and a child’s laughter, a laugh like a song.

Then, although nearly imperceptibly, the wall shudders…

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

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From Baker Street to the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Music: “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty, with Raphael Ravenscroft on saxophone. 1978. Photographs of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson from the British television series “Sherlock” made by the BBC, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch (as Sherlock Holmes) and Martin Freeman (as Doctor Watson). Coproduced by Hartswood Films and WGBH, the series was created by Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss. Accompanied by embroidery (first outlined and then finished) made by Zapatista insurgents for the CompArte Festival, 2016, with the theme “Defensa Zapatista and the Hydra.” The image of the little doll on the foosball table was taken in 2013 by a 9-year-old boy who attended the Zapatista Little School. He saw the foosball table and put the little doll there just as you see it. The illustrations at the end of the video are by the CVI support team, “Tercios Compas” section.

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Embroidery and drawings by EZLN insurgents for the CompArte Festival

Embroidery and drawings made by Zapatista insurgents for the CompArte Festival.

Music: “Resistencia,” from the album LDA V The Lunatics, Los de Abajo.

[i] “Sockhead” [cara de calcetín, or, alternatively, cara de trapo] is a derogatory term used by critics to deride members of the EZLN (and their use of masks) and, in this instance, refers to Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

[ii] Defensa Zapatista characteristically says “tonelada,” or ton, instead of “tonada,” or tune.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/27/calendario-de-continuacion-del-5o-congreso-del-cni-y-del-encuentro-ls-zapatistas-y-las-conciencias-por-la-humanidad/.


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CNI And EZLN Support The Dignified Resistance Of The Yaqui Tribe

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JOINT COMMUNIQUE FROM THE CNI AND THE EZLN SUPPORTING THE DIGNIFIED RESISTANCE OF THE YAQUI TRIBE

October 2016

To the Yaqui Tribe,

To the peoples and governments of the world,

As the originary peoples who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista communities, we send our simple words in solidarity with the Yaqui Tribe, its traditional government, and its troops. We are with you in these difficult moments after the confrontations this past October 21 in Lomas de Bácum.

We condemn the conflict and discord that are planted and promoted in the communities by the bad governments and their overseers, national and international corporations, who want to take control over the gas, water, and minerals of the Yaqui territory. To this end, the powerful sow division as a tool to impose death and destruction in our territories. For them, we are merely a path to more power and more money. As the peoples, nations, and tribes of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista peoples, we salute the Yaqui Tribe’s defense of their territory. We call for unity in the face of a common enemy which aims to take everything that we as peoples have and which makes possible our collective organization, our history, our language, and our life.

In the various geographies of resistance of the originary peoples of this country, the bad governments are using our own people to generate violence among us in order to guarantee their ability to impose extractive projects of death, structural reforms, the destruction of communitarian organization, and terror among those who struggle. For those who struggle, in contrast to the capitalists, the life and future of the people is everything.

We call on national and international civil society, on the originary peoples, on the national and international Sixth, and on the free media to be attentive and demand the respect deserved by the indigenous peoples in their autonomous organization and self-determination.

October 2016

For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/24/comunicado-conjunto-del-cni-y-el-ezln-en-apoyo-a-la-digna-resistencia-de-la-tribu-yaqui/.



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EZLN: Questions Without Answers, Answers Without Questions, Councils And Counsel

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(Pages from the Notebook of the Cat-Dog)

October 20, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

Questions without answers:

—So what about the women murdered for the grave crime of being women? Will the fact that they have demanded that the attacks stop and, with their blood, raised the topic not just to the national agenda but the global one, make them the object of mockery, disdain, and accusations that they are playing to the right? Because they aren’t dying, they are being killed. What if they refuse to accept that this is a problem that can be solved by addressing corruption? And if they dare to say that the origin of this murderous hate is located in the system itself? What if they come up with the crazy idea to side-line men with regard to the most vital decisions (yes, as in questions of life of death)? And if they decide to take their destiny into their own hands? Would any part of that, or all of it, be a governmental manoeuvre to avoid… etcetera?

—What about the others (loas otroas)? Must they wait for the political class to turn its haughty gaze on one of the most vilified peoples below? Must they resign themselves to be knocked off until the murder rate finally gets high enough to attract attention? And what if they organize themselves and demand respect, if they decide they’ve had enough of the fact that being disrespected means being killed? Would they be told that their problems are not a priority, that their position is not generally politically correct and is in fact counterproductive with regard to the electoral race, and that their demands should unite and not detract?

—The parish priests, nuns, and laypeople of the progressive church see and feel first-hand, without intermediaries, the pain, angst, and desperation of migrants, the families of the disappeared, and entire peoples under attack, as well as the rage concerning impunity and the frustration of suffering injustice which has been made law with pomp and circumstance. Are they trying to use this pain to their own benefit? What would they gain by making those cries theirs, by identifying themselves with that rage? And if from that perspective, formed not just in the face of threats of all kinds but at the risk of their own earthly lives, they claim openly and reflectively that the solutions offered on the horizon are not sufficient, are they thus opposed—being who they are and accountable to what they are—to a real change?

—If the mere possibility of an indigenous woman existing as a citizen (with all of its rights and obligations) has the effect of causing “the earth to tremble at its core,” what would happen if her ear and her word travelled through all of Mexico below?

—You who are reading this: would you be bothered by watching and listening to a debate between the Calderona [i] from above, with her “traditional” luxury brand clothing, and a woman below, of indigenous blood, culture, language, and history? Would you be more interested in hearing what the Calderona promises or what the indigenous woman proposes? Wouldn’t you want to see this clash of two worlds? Imagine, on the one side, a woman from above, born and raised with every luxury, educated to feel superior in race and colour, complicit and promised heiress of a psychopathic enthusiast of alcohol and blood,[ii] representative of an elite that is steering the Nation toward total destruction, and chosen by the Ruler to be his spokesperson. Imagine on the other hand a woman who, like many, made her way working and struggling every day, every hour, and everywhere, not only against a system that oppresses her as indigenous, as poor, and as a worker, but also as a woman who has faced a system reproduced in the image and likeness of the brains of men, and not just a few women. Wouldn’t she, with everything against her, today, without yet knowing it, have to now aspire to represent not only herself, her collective, or her originary people, tribe, nation, or barrio, but also millions of women who are distinct in their language, colour, and race but equal in their pain and rage? Would this not be a situation in which on one side would appear a white criolla woman, the symbol of oppression, mockery, scorn, impunity, and shamelessness, and on the other a woman who would have to lift her indigenous spirit above the racism that permeates every level of social strata? Isn’t it true that, almost without knowing it, you would cease to be a spectator and desire, from the deepest part of you, that the victor of this debate, after a good battle, would be the one who had everything against her? Would you not applaud that, in the name of this indigenous woman, it was truth that won and not the power of money?

—Are you worried that the indigenous woman won’t speak Spanish well, but not that the current head of the federal executive branch doesn’t know how to speak at all?

—How solid can the Mexican political system be, and how well-founded and reliable the tactics and strategies of the political parties, if, when someone says publicly that they are thinking about something, that they are going to ask their peers what they think of what they are thinking, the entire political party system becomes hysterical?

—To what degree does the proposal that an indigenous governing council (concejo with a “c”),[iii] that is, a collective and not an individual, be in charge of the federal executive bolster-presidential-rule-become-complicit-in-the-electoral-farce-contribute-to-reinforcing-bourgeois-democracy-play-to-the-oligarchy-and-to-Yankee-Chinese-Russian-Judeoislamic-millenarian -imperialism-in-addition-to-betraying-the-highest-principles-of-the-global-proletarian-revolution?

—Should we follow the inertia of the political class, “thinking” heads and acrobats of all kinds, and respond to the unfounded criticism—as well as well-founded critiques that challenge us and provoke thought—with dismissals that, in addition to being lazy, are boring (like peñabotspaniaguadospejezombisperderistas,[iv] and etceterists)?

-*-

—A million-dollar idea (or an effort to raise money to collect signatures and for the campaign—oh, oh, looks like they’re serious): an application that self-censors on twitter when one writes something stupid. Handy, because the screen shots are unforgiving. What? That’s already occurred to you? Well, get to it, because when the CNI authorizes us to explain, erasing those tweets will be useless.

-*-

Rankings for the first week:

Finalist for the best meme: El Deforma [v] (not really much of a prize for them, because El Deforma is like the Barcelona F.C. of memes).

Finalist for the best tweet on a well-founded suspicion: “What seems most suspicious to me is that the #EZLN always becomes fashionable in the winter and then the fucking ski masks get really expensive.”

Finalist for the best series of tweets on the topic: “Hey listen, with regard to all this, do the Zapatistas even use Twitter?/ I’m asking because we’re here scolding them, mocking them, ridiculing them, telling them, ordering them what they should and shouldn’t do/ and if they aren’t even paying attention/ if they aren’t hearing us, then it’s like/ masturbating while watching, aroused, a box of cereal, you know/ heads up, don’t forget to erase this series of tweets/. Warning! Your Twitter account has suffered an attack by a screen shot.

-*-

Listen, a bit of well-intentioned counsel (consejo with an ‘s’): a lesson in reading comprehension wouldn’t hurt you. And speaking of letters, a composition lesson wouldn’t be a bad idea either… providing it is one with a limited horizon of the 140 characters.

—A non-Confucian maxim: “although it may seem unbelievable, it seems there is not just one but many worlds outside of social networks.”

Defensa Zapatista, Chicharito Hernández, and Lionel Messi.

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I don’t know how the hell the ball ended up in my tent, but the thing is that behind it came a little girl about… how old? I estimate between 8 and 10; in the communities that could be years or decades. It’s not the first time that the irreverent and happy tone of Zapatista childhood erupts in the solitary room where I at times stay, so I didn’t pay too much attention and continued reviewing and reading the storm across social networks and free and paid media. I wouldn’t even have noticed the little girl’s presence if she hadn’t said, in a knowing voice, “it’s like the thing with Chicharito and Messi.” I realized that the little girl was looking over my shoulder at the screen of my laptop. Remembering that old maxim that the best offense is defence, I asked her: “And you, who are you? I don’t know you.” The little girl responded, “my name is Defensa Zapatista,” as if stating the obvious, as if she had said “energy equals mass times the speed of light squared.” Pointing to the screen she added, “Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona and Messi doesn’t play for the Chiapas Jaguars.” I turned back around to see if I had switched hashtags without realizing it, but no, the header still read #ezln. What occurs in the head of a Zapatista little girl is not so much a world but rather a Big Bang in continual expansion. Nevertheless, I asked her, “And what the hell does that have to do with anything.” The little girl answered with a face that says, “You know nothing, Jon Snow.”

“It’s like they’re criticizing Chicharito for not scoring goals for Barcelona and Messi for not doing anything to help the Jaguars. Some say that Chicharito is going to recover; others say he’s done. Some say that Messi is sad because his home country doesn’t support him; others say it’s that his shoe is too tight and if he changes it he’s going to shoot well again.

But the thing is Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, nor Messi for the Jaguars. Meaning, they’re getting all worked up for nothing.”

I was evaluating the change in paradigm underlying Defensa Zapatista’s line of reasoning when she started in again: “Hey Sup, why don’t we organize a soccer game for when those who are like us show up here? Well, we haven’t actually finished putting together our team and sometimes Pedrito, the little jerk, thinks he’s really tough, and the cat-dog barely obeys orders, and the one-eyed horse falls asleep a lot, and the other players, well sometimes they come and sometimes they go. But look, I already thought about what song we should play we win the final. Do you know the tune? What would you know, you’re the sup!” I advise you to study the sciences and the arts, so that you can see clearly that the problem is that Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, and Messi doesn’t play for the Jaguars, and so you shouldn’t worry, to hell with the lot of them. I have to go now because the team isn’t complete yet and what if we’re up to play for, like they say, the inauguration.”

Already at the door, the little girl turned around and said: “Hey Sup, if my mom comes and asks if you saw me, you just tell her clearly that Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona and Messi doesn’t play for the Jaguars. I mean don’t tell lies, because mothers always know when you’re lying. So what you have to do is change the game, pretend you’re headed one way, but really you’re going in another. I can explain that to you later, but study first, because if you are going to go to the autonomous school they are going to make fun of you, and Pedrito will be the worst, because the little jerk is bragging that he finished grade school. But he’ll see that I’m going to finish too and then get outta here, to hell with him. About the team, don’t worry, there will be more of us. Sometimes it takes a while, but there will be more of us.” The little girl left.

SubMoy showed up and asked me, “Do you have the text with the explanation ready?”

No, but Chicharito doesn’t play for Barcelona, nor Messi for the Jaguars,” I answered, following Defensa Zapatista’s advice.

SubMoy looked at me and took out his radio, giving the order, “send someone from the health commission with an injection.”

I ran, what else could I do?

Woof-Meow

SupGaleano

[i] A reference to Margarita Zavala, the wife of ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012) and likely PAN candidate for the presidency in 2018.

[ii] A reference to her husband, ex-president Felipe Calderón (2006-2012).

[iii] Concejo with a “c” means council, often referring to some level of governing council. Consejo with an “s” means advice or counsel, or is used to refer to an entity like a board of directors.

[iv] Derogatory terms used to discredit supporters of the various institutional political parties.

[v] A reference to the Mexican national newspaper Reforma.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/21/preguntas-sin-respuestas-respuestas-sin-preguntas-concejos-y-consejos-notas-tomadas-del-cuaderno-de-apuntes-del-gato-perro/.



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CNI And EZLN: May The Earth Tremble At Its Core

 

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To the people of the world:

To the free media:

To the National and International Sixth:

Convened for the commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the National Indigenous Congress and the living resistance of the originary peoples, nations, and tribes of this country called Mexico, of the languages of Amuzgo, Binni-zaá, Chinanteco, Chol, Chontal de Oaxaca, Coca, Náyeri, Cuicateco, Kumiai, Lacandón, Matlazinca, Maya, Mayo, Mazahua, Mazateco, Mixe, Mixteco, Nahua, Ñahñu, Ñathô, Popoluca, Purépecha, Rarámuri, Tlapaneco, Tojolabal, Totonaco, Triqui, Tzeltal, Tsotsil, Wixárika, Yaqui, Zoque, Chontal de Tabasco, as well as our Aymara, Catalán, Mam, Nasa, Quiché and Tacaná brothers and sisters, we firmly pronounce that our struggle is below and to the left, that we are anticapitalist and that the time of the people has come—the time to make this country pulse with the ancestral heartbeat of our mother earth.

It is in this spirit that we met to celebrate life in the Fifth National Indigenous Congress, which took place on October 9-14, 2016, in CIDECI-UNITIERRA, Chiapas. There we once again recognized the intensification of the dispossession and repression that have not stopped in the 524 years since the powerful began a war aimed at exterminating those who are of the earth; as their children we have not allowed for their destruction and death, meant to serve capitalist ambition which knows no end other than destruction itself. That resistance, the struggle to continue constructing life, today takes the form of words, learning, and agreements. On a daily basis we build ourselves and our communities in resistance in order to stave off the storm and the capitalist attack which never lets up. It becomes more aggressive everyday such that today it has become a civilizational threat, not only for indigenous peoples and campesinos but also for the people of the cities who themselves must create dignified and rebellious forms of resistance in order to avoid murder, dispossession, contamination, sickness, slavery, kidnapping or disappearance. Within our community assemblies we have decided, exercised, and constructed our destiny since time immemorial. Our forms of organization and the defense of our collective life is only possible through rebellion against the bad government, their businesses, and their organized crime.

ezln

We denounce the following:

  1. In Pueblo Coca, Jalisco, the businessman Guillermo Moreno Ibarra invaded 12 hectares of forest in the area known as El Pandillo, working in cahoots with the agrarian institutions there to criminalize those who struggle, resulting in 10 community members being subjected to trials that went on for four years. The bad government is invading the island of Mexcala, which is sacred communal land, and at the same time refusing to recognize the Coca people in state indigenous legislation, in an effort to erase them from history.
  2. The Otomí Ñhañu, Ñathö, Hui hú, and Matlatzinca peoples from México State and Michoacán are being attacked via the imposition of a megaproject to build the private Toluca-Naucalpan Highway and an inter-city train. The project is destroying homes and sacred sites, buying people off and manipulating communal assemblies through police presence. This is in addition to fraudulent community censuses that supplant the voice of an entire people, as well as the privatization and the dispossession of water and territory around the Xinantécatl volcano, known as the Nevado de Toluca. There the bad governments are doing away with the protections that they themselves granted, all in order to hand the area over to the tourism industry. We know that all of these projects are driven by interest in appropriating the water and life of the entire region. In the Michoacán zone they deny the identity of the Otomí people, and a group of police patrols have come to the region to monitor the hills, prohibiting indigenous people there from going to the hills to cut wood.
  3. The originary peoples who live in Mexico City are being dispossessed of the territories that they have won in order to be able to work for a living; in the process they are robbed of their goods and subjected to police violence. They are scorned and repressed for using their traditional clothing and language, and criminalized through accusations of selling drugs.
  4. The territory of the Chontal Peoples of Oaxaca is being invaded by mining concessions that are dismantling communal land organization, affecting the people and natural resources of five communities.
  5. The Mayan Peninsular People of Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo are suffering land disposession as a result of the planting of genetically modified soy and African palm, the contamination of their aquifers by agrochemicals, the construction of wind farms and solar farms, the development of ecotourism, and the activities of real estate developers. Their resistance against high electricity costs has been met with harassment and arrest warrants. In Calakmul, Campeche, five communities are being displaced by the imposition of ‘environmental protection areas,’ environmental service costs, and carbon capture plans. In Candelaria, Campeche, the struggle continues for secure land tenure. In all three states there is aggressive criminalization against those who defend territory and natural resources.
  6. The Tzotzil, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, Chol and Lacandón Maya People of Chiapas continue to be displaced from their territories due to the privatization of natural resources. This has resulted in the imprisonment and murder of those who defend their right to remain in their territory, as they are constantly discriminated against and repressed whenever they defend themselves and organize to continue building their autonomy, leading to increasing rates of human rights violations by police forces. There are campaigns to fragment and divide their organizations, as well as the murders of compañeros who have defended their territory and natural resources in San Sebastián Bachajon. The bad governments continue trying to destroy the organization of the communities that are EZLN bases of support in order to cast a shadow on the hope and light that they provide to the entire world.
  7. The Mazateco people of Oaxaca have been invaded by private property claims which exploit the territory and culture for tourism purposes. This includes naming Huautla de Jimenéz as a “Pueblo Mágico” in order to legalize displacement and commercialize ancestral knowledge. This is in addition to mining concessions and foreign spelunking explorations in existing caves, all enforced by increased harassment by narcotraffickers and militarization of the territory. The bad governments are complicit in the increasing rates of femicide and rape in the region.
  8. The Nahua and Totonaca peoples of Veracruz and Puebla are confronting aerial fumigation, which creates illnesses in the communities. Mining and hydrocarbon exploration and exploitation are carried out through fracking, and 8 watersheds are endangered by new projects that are contaminating the rivers.
  9. The Nahua and Popoluca peoples from the south of Veracruz are under siege by organized crime and also risk territorial destruction and their disappearance as a people because of the threats brought by mining, wind farms, and above all, hydrocarbon exploitation through fracking.
  10. The Nahua people, who live in the states of Puebla, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Morelos, Mexico State, Jalisco, Guerrero, Michoacán, San Luis Potosí, and Mexico City, are in a constant struggle to stop the advance of the so-called Proyecto Integral Morelos, consisting of pipelines, aqueducts, and thermoelectric projects. The bad governments, seeking to stop the resistance and communication among the communities are trying to destroy the community radio of Amiltzingo, Morelos. Similarly, the construction of the new airport in Mexico City and the surrounding building projects threaten the territories around Texcoco lake and the Valle de México basin, namely Atenco, Texcoco, and Chimalhuacán. In Michocan, the Nahua people face the plunder of their natural resources and minerals by sicarios [hitmen] who are accompanied by police or the army, and also the militarization and paramilitarizaiton of their territories. The cost of trying to halt this war has been murder, persecution, imprisonment, and harassment of community leaders.
  11. The Zoque People of Oaxaca and Chiapas face invasion by mining concessions and alleged private property claims on communal lands in the Chimalapas region, as well as three hydroelectric dams and hydrocarbon extraction through fracking. The implementation of cattle corridors is leading to excessive logging in the forests in order to create pastureland, and genetically modified seeds are also being cultivated there. At the same time, Zoque migrants to different states across the country are re-constituting their collective organization.
  12. The Amuzgo people of Guerrero are facing the theft of water from the San Pedro River to supply residential areas in the city of Ometepec. Their community radio has also been subject to constant persecution and harassment.
  13. The Rarámuri people of Chihuahua are losing their farmland to highway construction, to the Creel airport, and to the gas pipeline that runs from the United States to Chihuahua. They are also threatened by Japanese mining companies, dam projects, and tourism.
  14. The Wixárika people of Jalisco, Nayarit, and Durango are facing the destruction and privatization of the sacred places they depend on to maintain their familial, social, and political fabric, and also the dispossession of their communal land in favor of large landowners who take advantage of the blurry boundaries between states of the Republic and campaigns orchestrated by the bad government to divide people.
  15. The Kumiai People of Baja California continue struggling for the reconstitution of their ancestral territories, against invasion by private interests, the privatization of their sacred sites, and the invasion of their territories by gas pipelines and highways.
  16. The Purépecha people of Michoacán are experiencing deforestation, which occurs through complicity between the bad government and the narcoparamilitary groups who plunder the forests and woods. Community organization from below poses an obstacle to that theft.
  17. For the Triqui people of Oaxaca, the presence of the political parties, the mining industry, paramilitaries, and the bad government foment the disintegration of the community fabric in the interest of plundering natural resources.
  18. The Chinanteco people of Oaxaca are suffering the destruction of their forms of community organization through land reforms, the imposition of environmental services costs, carbon capture plans, and ecotourism. There are plans for a four-lane highway to cross and divide their territory. In the Cajono and Usila Rivers the bad governments are planning to build three dams that will affect the Chinanteco and Zapoteca people, and there are also mining concessions and oil well explorations.
  19. The Náyeri People of Nayarit face the invasion and destruction of their sacred territories by the Las Cruces hydroelectric project in the site called Muxa Tena on the San Pedro River.
  20. The Yaqui people of Sonora continue their sacred struggle against the gas pipeline that would cross their territory, and in defense of the water of the Yaqui River, which the bad governments want to use to supply the city of Hermosillo, Sonora. This goes against judicial orders and international appeals which have made clear the Yaqui peoples’ legal and legitimate rights. The bad government has criminalized and harassed the authorities and spokespeople of the Yaqui tribe.
  21. The Binizzá and Ikoot people organize to stop the advance of the mining, wind, hydroelectric, dam, and gas pipeline projects. This includes in particular the Special Economic Zone on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec and the infrastructure that threatens the territory and the autonomy of the people on the Isthmus of Tehuantepec who are classified as the “environmental Taliban” and the “indigenous rights Taliban,” the precise words used by the Mexican Association of Energy to refer to the Popular Assembly of the Juchiteco People.
  22. The Mixteco people of Oaxaca suffer the plunder of their agrarian territory, which also affects their traditional practices given the threats, deaths, and imprisonment that seek to quiet the dissident voices, with the bad government supporting armed paramilitary groups as in the case of San Juan Mixtepec, Oaxaca.
  23. The Mixteco, Tlapaneco, and Nahua peoples from the mountains and coast of Guerrero face the imposition of mining megaprojects supported by narcotraffickers, their paramilitaries, and the bad governments, who fight over the territories of the originary peoples.
  24. The Mexican bad government continues to lie, trying hide its decomposition and total responsibility for the forced disappearance of the 43 students from the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers College in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero.
  25. The state continues to hold hostage: compañeros Pedro Sánchez Berriozábal, Rómulo Arias Míreles, Teófilo Pérez González, Dominga González Martínez, Lorenzo Sánchez Berriozábal, and Marco Antonio Pérez González from the Nahua community of San Pedro Tlanixco in Mexico State; Zapotec compañero Álvaro Sebastián from the Loxicha region; compañerosEmilio Jiménez Gómez and Esteban Gómez Jiménez, prisoners from the community of Bachajón, Chiapas; compañeros Pablo López Álvarez and the exiled Raul Gatica García and Juan Nicolás López from the Indigenous and Popular Council of Oaxaca Ricardo Flores Magón. Recently a judge handed down a 33-year prison sentence to compañero Luis Fernando Sotelo for demanding that the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa be returned alive, and to thecompañeros Samuel Ramírez Gálvez, Gonzalo Molina González and Arturo Campos Herrera from the Regional Coordination of Community Authorities – PC. They also hold hundreds of indigenous and non-indigenous people across the country prisoner for defending their territories and demanding justice.
  26. The Mayo people’s ancestral territory is threatened by highway projects meant to connect Topolobampo with the state of Texas in the United States. Ambitious tourism projects are also being created in Barranca del Cobre.
  27. The Dakota Nation’s sacred territory is being invaded and destroyed by gas and oil pipelines, which is why they are maintaining a permanent occupation to protect what is theirs.

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For all of these reasons, we reiterate that it our obligation to protect life and dignity, that is, resistance and rebellion, from below and to the left, a task that can only be carried out collectively. We build rebellion from our small local assemblies that combine to form large communal assemblies, ejidal assemblies, Juntas de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Councils], and coalesce as agreements as peoples that unite us under one identity. In the process of sharing, learning, and constructing ourselves as the National Indigenous Congress, we see and feel our collective pain, discontent, and ancestral roots. In order to defend what we are, our path and learning process have been consolidated by strengthening our collective decision-making spaces, employing national and international juridical law as well as peaceful and civil resistance, and casting aside the political parties that have only brought death, corruption, and the buying off of dignity. We have made alliances with various sectors of civil society, creating our own resources in communication, community police and self-defense forces, assemblies and popular councils, and cooperatives; in the exercise and defense of traditional medicine; in the exercise and defense of traditional and ecological agriculture; in our own rituals and ceremonies to pay respect to mother earth and continue walking with and upon her, in the cultivation and defense of native seeds, and in political-cultural activities, forums, and information campaigns.

This is the power from below that has kept us alive. This is why commemorating resistance and rebellion also means ratifying our decision to continue to live, constructing hope for a future that is only possible upon the ruins of capitalism.

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Given that the offensive against the people will not cease, but rather grow until it finishes off every last one of us who make up the peoples of the countryside and the city, who carry profound discontent that emerges in new, diverse, and creative forms of resistance and rebellion, this Fifth National Indigenous Congress has decided to launch a consultation in each of our communities to dismantle from below the power that is imposed on us from above and offers us nothing but death, violence, dispossession, and destruction. Given all of the above, we declare ourselves in permanent assembly as we carry out this consultation, in each of our geographies, territories, and paths, on the accord of the Fifth CNI to name an Indigenous Governing Council whose will would be manifest by an indigenous woman, a CNI delegate, as an independent candidate to the presidency of the country under the name of the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation in the electoral process of 2018. We confirm that our struggle is not for power, which we do not seek. Rather, we call on all of the originary peoples and civil society to organize to put a stop to this destruction and strengthen our resistances and rebellions, that is, the defense of the life of every person, family, collective, community, or barrio. We make a call to construct peace and justice by reweaving ourselves from below, from where we are what we are.

This is the time of dignified rebellion, the time to construct a new nation by and for everyone, to strengthen power below and to the anticapitalist left, to make those who are responsible for all of the pain of the peoples of this multi-colored Mexico pay.

Finally, we announce the creation of the official webpage of the CNI: http://www.congresonacionalindigena.org

From CIDECI-UNITIERRA,

Chiapas, October 2016

For the Full Reconstitution of Our Peoples

Never Again a Mexico Without Us

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/14/que-retiemble-en-sus-centros-la-tierra/.



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EZLN: Inauguration Of The Fifth Session Of The National Indigenous Congress

 

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Words of the General Command of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation at the opening of the Fifth Session of the National Indigenous Congress at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, on October 11, 2016

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

October 11, 2016

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress,

Wirrarikarri Brothers and Sisters,

Nahua Brothers and Sisters,

Purépecha Brothers and Sisters,

Raramuri Brothers and Sisters,

Cora Brothers and Sisters,

Mayo Yoreme Brothers and Sisters,

Yaqui Tribe Brothers and Sisters,

Popoluca Brothers and Sisters,

Mixteco Brothers and Sisters,

Ñahñú, Ñatho Brothers and Sisters,

Coca Brothers and Sisters,

Totonaco Brothers and Sisters,

Mazahua Brothers and Sisters,

Maya Brothers and Sisters,

Zoque Brothers and Sisters,

Tzotzil Brothers and Sisters,

Tzeltal Brothers and Sisters,

Chol Brothers and Sisters,

Tojolabal Brothers and Sisters,

Mame Brothers and Sisters,

Binni Zaá Brothers and Sisters,

Chontal Brothers and Sisters

Chinanteco Brothers and Sisters,

Kumiai Brothers and Sisters,

Cuicateco Brothers and Sisters,

Matlazinca Brothers and Sisters,

Mazateco Brothers and Sisters,

Mee-paa Brothers and Sisters,

Mixe Brothers and Sisters,

Nasaquue/Nasa Brothers and Sisters,

Amuzgo Brothers and Sisters,

Triqui Brothers and Sisters,

Originary peoples, nations, tribes and barrios whose home is the National Indigenous Congress:

Compañeros and compañeras of the National and International Sixth:

Compañeras and compañeros of the Zapatista delegation to the Fifth Congress of the CNI:

We send you all [todas, todos, todoas] the sincere greetings of the men, women, children, and elders whose collective name is the Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

With this greeting, we also send you our sincere and honest respect, admiration, and affection.

First, we want to thank our compañeras and compañeros of the CIDECI-UNITIERRA who are providing us, as they have done in the past, with shelter, food, and space for our ear and our word.

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas:

Brothers and sisters:

This week marks 20 years of existence for the light that was born in the hands of the originary peoples of this land called Mexico. This light was then and is now called the National Indigenous Congress.

We had the honour of being present, through our unforgettable compañera Comandanta Ramona, at that birth where together, we as originary peoples, nations, tribes and barrios, ignited this light.

This light is one of organization, of struggle, and of work, a long walk and a long fight waged through resistance and rebellion.

Throughout these 20 years of struggle against the bad capitalist system and its rulers, we have met only with disrespect, repression, dispossession, exploitation, imprisonment, murder, disappearance, deceit, and manipulation.

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On this anniversary that we are celebrating with words given in the spirit of sisterhood and comraderie, we as Zapatistas want to remember those who are no longer with us:

Our deceased Comandanta Ramona, Tata Grande Juan Chávez, honorary Insurgent Major Félix Serdán, compañero Ramiro Taboada, brother Efrén Capíz, and the other names that mark the absences for which we grieve today and always: indigenous women; indigenous youth; originary adults and elders, our wisest people; indigenous migrants; and all of the disappeared, murdered, abused, humiliated, prostituted, and forgotten, objects of mockery, scorn, and disrespect.

Along with them, we also remember the injustice, and impunity that, as State policy, take the name and face of the 47 missing from Ayotzinapa.

Let them feel with us all of this pain, all of this rage that now convoke and provoke us to think about what should be done for those who are no longer here and those who are yet to come.

May they speak through our lips, listen in our hearts.

May they live in our collective being.

Through our thoughts and our actions, may they know that they are accompanied, that they are not alone.

Compañeras, compañeros, brothers, sisters:

As we said 20 years ago: nothing new, nothing for the good of the originary peoples of Mexico and the world will come from or be born of this capitalist system.

Those capitalists will never seek out or even imagine a path to change for a better life for us, originary peoples, nations, tribes and barrios.

In the capitalist system in which we live, there will be nothing good for us, the poor peoples of the countryside and the city.

What we need and want as originary peoples of Mexico and the world will not be born of that system or from those capitalists.

We expect nothing from them other than more injustice, exploitation, and the many wrongs committed against us, the poor people of the world.

There is nothing for us, nothing that we want or need, to be had from the existing political parties, nor from the so-called new ones that will come because they are made up of the very same people, people who simply jump from one party to another.

We have seen and thought many things over these 20 years. Because we have already lived with death and despair for more than 500 years.

This shows us and tells us that we cannot expect anything from this bad system and its bad rulers. This is what our history tells us and shows us through the lives lived by our grandparents, great-grandparents, and great great-grandparents.

That is why 20 years ago we said that we must build our own path, our own destiny where there is freedom, justice, and democracy.

Because we cannot trust even a tiny bit in the capitalist system in which we live.

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We met each other during the dialogue that we held when the people of Mexico demanded that we dialogue with the bad system-made-government, which didn’t keep its word.

It is the bad system itself that showed us that we could not trust its words, which, as we have seen for over 500 years, it does not honour.

But the dialogue among our originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations served us well, which is why we are here now as the National Indigenous Congress.

To talk amongst ourselves as originary peoples was and is very important, now more than ever, because the destruction wrought by the capitalists on mother earth is extensive and that means that we will also be destroyed, because it is from and through her that we live.

Dialogue among us does us good, it helps us to understand, it helps to guide our lives in many ways, but only working at it bears fruit, if we don’t work we will have no fruit. That work is done with our peoples, and the fruit is that the people themselves work to organize themselves, struggling, striving, and sacrificing, as many times as is necessary.

If we don’t do this work, who will? No one is coming to do it for us; we know that well.

That is what we say. There are many things that we know and repeat, for example, “Fighting amongst ourselves does us no good.” Another one is, “Divided we have no strength.”

Now the time has come for us to not only know and say these things; now is the time to address what happens in our lives: injustice, misery, inequality.

This requires us to organize ourselves in order to carry out what we say, or to put into practice the steps to correct and improve things where we see we have made mistakes.

Compañeros, compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress: it was at this time 20 years ago when we raised our heads—body and soul—and said, let’s organize ourselves, let’s work and struggle.

Today we believe that is precisely why we are here: to see ourselves, listen to ourselves, understand what we have done, how we have done it, what we still have left to do, and how we will do it.

We are here to see where we have made mistakes and how to correct and improve them.

Today more than ever we need to be united, in the countryside and the city.

Wherever we live is our trench of struggle, work, and organization, in every community, every nation, every tribe, and every barrio, as originary peoples.

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the National and International Sixth, we think that it is the same for you, wherever you live is your trench of struggle, work, and organization, in every barrio, every school, every factory, every hospital, and so on in every city, municipality, and state.

We can only achieve this by working and organizing ourselves; that is where the ‘how’ and the ‘what’ to do are born, according to the situation we live.

Compañeros and compañeras of the National Indigenous Congress: today more than ever we need to continue the struggle of our ancestors, Resistance and Rebellion, but now we must struggle for the real change that we as the poor people of the countryside and the city need.

We ourselves need to build the world we want.

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Compañeras and compañeros of the Sixth of Mexico and the world.

We who are exploited need to work together, in the countryside and the city, to construct the world that we want.

We think that we should dedicate our energy, our sacrifices, to working and organizing ourselves, so that we know what to do when the need arises.

TODAY WE HAVE NO OTHER CHOICE but to buckle down and organize ourselves, the original peoples of the countryside and the city. This is especially true for us as originary peoples, barrios, tribes, and nations, because we no longer have anywhere to take refuge. We are attacked in the countryside and in the city; no one will have any place to seek refuge.

Today we, the exploited, need to lift our gaze and organize ourselves, to work and struggle to be organized together between city and countryside.

We originary peoples of the countryside and the city are witness to the truth that the capitalist system holds nothing, not even the tiniest possibility, to make life better for the originary peoples and those from the city.

Today they want to truly destroy us, to do away with us through the slavery of capitalism, and simultaneously complete the destruction of our mother earth and nature.

Today we need to study by listening and looking, to learn by sharing and practicing, to understand how and from where bad things come and how and where the good exists. This should be born from within us: how to leave the bad behind and begin to do good. We must study our histories and our past in order not to repeat the bad, but to correct and improve things.

As powerful as the exploiters may be, no one can win against an organized people.

So, compañeras and compañeros from the National Indigenous Congress, compañeroscompañeros and compañeroas from the Sixth in Mexico and the world, brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world below and to the left, let us organize and struggle to make a better world, working and building with intelligence and wisdom.

Originary peoples of the world, scientists of the world, artists of the world: if we organize ourselves we can save the world and build another, much better one. For this task we must become better fighters in the struggle.

As we seek out and talk among ourselves, compañeras and compañeros from the National Indigenous Congress, we must be an example for our families in Mexico and the world, we must show them that no one will struggle to liberate us other than ourselves. It is up to us to show the way.

-*-

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Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas, brothers and sisters:

Listen, those who want to listen.

Understand, those who want to understand.

Now is the time when the steps of the originary peoples will reseed these soils.

Now is the time for these skies to be filled with all of the colours of those who are the colour of the earth.

Now is the time for the collective heart that we are to become even larger. May it become home, comfort, and inspiration for the struggle of those who think they are alone and have nowhere to go.

Now is the hour of our peoples, our nations, our tribes, our barrios.

Now is the time to remind the Ruler and his managers and overseers who it was who gave birth to this nation, who works the machines, who creates food from the earth, who constructs buildings, who paves the roads, who defends and reclaims the sciences and the arts, who imagines and struggles for a world so big that there is always a place to find food, shelter and hope.

Listen carefully; understand fully:

Now is the hour of the National Indigenous Congress.

With its step, let the earth tremble at its core.

With its dreams, let cynicism and apathy be vanquished.

In its words, let those without voice be lifted up.

With its gaze, let darkness be illuminated.

In its ear, let the pain of those who think they are alone find a home.

In its heart, let desperation find comfort and hope.

In its challenge, let the world be seen anew.

-*-

Thank you, National Indigenous Congress.

Thank you for your example.

Thank you for not selling out.

Thank you for not giving up.

Thank you for not giving in.

Thank you for your brotherly step, for your attentive ear, for your generous word.

We say clearly that our struggle is for life.

That is why we live, why we die, and why we say:

MAY THE ORIGINARY PEOPLES, BARRIOS, TRIBES, AND NATIONS OF MEXICO AND THE WORLD LIVE!

MAY THE COLOR OF THE EARTH THAT WE ARE SHINE ONCE AGAIN!

MAY THE GAZE AND THE STEP OF THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS, THOSE OF US WHO ARE IN AND WITH IT, RISE UP ONCE AGAIN!

Thank you for your ear, your word, your heart.

From CIDECI-UNITIERRA, Chiapas, Mexico. In the name of the elders, children, women, and men of the Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

On the 11th day of October, 2016

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/10/11/palabras-de-la-comandancia-general-del-ejercito-zapatista-de-liberacion-nacional-en-la-apertura-del-quinto-congreso-del-congreso-nacional-indigena-en-el-cideci-de-san-cristobal-de-las-casas-chiapas/

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CNI And EZLN: War And Resistance Dispatch #44

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To the peoples of the world:

To the alternative, free, autonomous, or whatever-you-call-it media:

To the National and International Sixth:

War and Resistance Dispatch #44

And what about the other 43? And the ones that follow?

This country has not been the same since the bad government committed one of its most heinous crimes in disappearing 43 young indigenous students of the teaching college Raúl Isidro Burgos in Ayotzinapa, Guerrero, two years ago. This event forced us to acknowledge the profound darkness in which we find ourselves today, stirring our individual and collective hearts and spirit. The rage, pain, and hope embodied in the families and compañeros of the 43 illuminate that darkness and shine on the faces of millions of people of every geography below in Mexico and around the world, as well as among a conscientious international civil society in solidarity.

As originary barrios, tribes, nations, and peoples, we begin from the collective heart that we are and turn our gaze into words.

From the geographies and calendars below that reflect the resistances, rebellions, and autonomies of those of us who make up the National Indigenous Congress; from the places and paths from where we as originary peoples see and understand the world: from the ancient geographies within which we have never ceased to see, understand, and resist this same violent war that the powerful wage against all of us who suffer and resist with all of our individual or collective being: we use our gaze and our words to take as our own the faces of the 43 disappeared which travel through every corner of the country in search of truth and justice, faces that are reflected in millions of others and that show us, in the dark of night, the way of the sacred, because pain and hope are sacred. That collective face multiplies and focuses its gaze on the geographies of resistance and rebellion.

From the Geographies of Below

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The disappearance of the 43 students from Ayotzinapa lives on in impunity. To search for truth from within the putrefaction of power is to search within the worst of this country, in the cynicism and perversion of the political class. The political class not only continues to pretend to keep up the search for the disappeared compañeros, but, in the face of growing evidence pointing to the culpability of the terrorist narco-state, it actually rewards those in charge of lying and distorting the truth. This is what they did in moving Tomás Zerón [ex-head of the Attorney General’s Criminal Investigation Agency]—the person responsible for planting false evidence to back up his historical lie about the Cocula garbage dump[i]—to Technical Secretary of the National Security Council. It is one more confirmation of the criminal nature of the bad government.

On top of lies, deceit, and impunity, the bad government heaps abuses and injustices against those who have shown solidarity with and support for the struggle of the families and compañeros of the 43. This includes Luis Fernando Sotelo Sambrano, a young person who has always been supportive of originary peoples’ struggles, including that of Cherán, of the Yaqui Tribe, of indigenous prisoners, and of the Zapatista communities. He has been sentenced by a judge to 33 years and 5 months for the sextuple crime of being young, poor, a student, in solidarity, rebellious, and a person of integrity.

This is what we see from those in power above: those who murder are covered for by lies and rewarded with protection; those who protest injustice receive beatings and imprisonment.

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When we look toward:

The south: the peoples’ struggle in defence of their territories against political bosses and large companies is dissolved by the struggle for security and justice against organized crime cartels whose intimate relationship with the entire political class is the only certainty that we as a people have about any state body.

The formation of shock troops that attack citizen protests have permeated towns and villages, and the government purposely generates conflicts that destroy the internal fabric of a community. That is, the government tries to create mirrors of its own war by sowing conflict in the communities and betting on the destruction of the most sensitive parts of the social fabric. There is nothing more dangerous and explosive for this nation than this practice.

The west: the struggles for land, security, and justice occur in the midst of administrative management for the drug cartels, disguised by the state as crime-fighting initiatives or development policies. On the other hand, the peoples who have resisted and even combatted criminal activity through organization from below have to struggle against constant attempts by the bad government to re-establish territorial control by organized crime cartels—and their respective preferred political parties.

The autonomous organization of the communities and their unwavering struggles for sacred sites and ancestral lands do not cease. The defence of our Mother Earth is not negotiable. We are watching the struggle of the Wixárika community of Wauta-San Sebastián Teponahuaxtlán for the recovery of almost ten thousand hectares bordering the town of Huajimic, Nayarit. There, despite the fact that the community has established their rights in agrarian courts, the judicial authorities have been remiss. The bad governments use the false official geographies that divide the states as a pretext to incentivize the displacement of indigenous peoples. To the Wixárika people, with regard to their rebellion and autonomy, we say: we are with you.

The north: where the struggles for recognition of territorial rights continue against threats by mining companies, agrarian displacement, the theft of natural resources, and the subjugation of resistance by narco-paramilitaries, the originary peoples continue to make and remake themselves every day.

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Among the originary peoples of the tribes of the north, the Sioux nation weaves its own geographies that go beyond the false official geographies that locate them in another country; for us, we are all children of the same mother. They are resisting the invasion of their sacred lands, cemeteries, and ceremonial sites by an oil pipeline under construction by the company Energy Transfer Partners. That company intends to transport oil obtained through fracking in the Bakken region in North Dakota through their territories. This struggle has generated solidarity and unity among the originary peoples of the north. To them we say that their rage is ours, and as the National Indigenous Congress, we raise our voice with them and will continue to do so. Their dignified struggle is also ours.

The peninsula: The Mayan peoples resist the attempt to disappear them by decree, defending their territories against attack by tourism and real estate interests. A proliferation of hired hitmen operate in impunity to displace the indigenous peoples. The agroindustry of genetically modified organisms threatens the existence of the Mayan peoples, and those magnates, with vile dishonesty, take over agrarian territories, cultural and archaeological sites, and even indigenous identity itself, trying to convert a vital people into a commercial fetish. The communities who struggle against the high electricity costs are persecuted and criminalized.

The centre [of the country]: Infrastructure projects including highways, gas pipelines, oil pipelines, and residential developments are being imposed through violent means and human rights are increasingly vague and removed in the law applied. Powerful groups use strategies of criminalization, co-optation, and division, all of them close—in corrupt and obscene ways—to that criminal who thinks he governs this country: Enrique Peña Nieto.

In the east of the country, violence, fracking, mining, migrant trafficking, corruption, and government madness are the currents that run against the struggle of the peoples, all playing out in the midst of entire regions taken over by violent criminal groups controlled from the highest levels of government.

From Dialogue to Betrayal

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Just as the teachers in struggle have done, we as originary peoples have sought dialogue with the bad government regarding our urgent demands for respect of our territories, the return of the disappeared, the freeing of prisoners, justice for those killed, the removal of the police or military from our lands, and our own security and justice, but the government has refused. Instead, it has arrested our spokespeople all over the country; the army has fired on children in Ostula; bulldozers have destroyed the homes of those who resist in Xochicuautla, and federal police have shot at the dignified community accompanying the teachers in Nochixtlán. The bad governments pretend to dialogue; they simulated interest in agreements with the Wixárika people for years in order to pacify the territory while they planned a violent reordering of the region.

Later the government talks like nothing has happened and offers its willingness to make concessions, as long as both parties come to an agreement. Then the government cedes one small part of what it has just destroyed, frees one prisoner, pays damages to the family of one murder victim, and pretends to look for the disappeared. In exchange it asks the originary peoples to cede their collective patrimony—their dignity, their autonomous organization, and their territory.

In various geographies across our country we are holding referendums where we say that we don’t want their mines, their oil pipelines, their GMOs, their dams, and we demand that they consult the people. But the bad government always responds by pretending “to consult as to how to consult on whether to or not to consult on the form of the consultation” (or something like that), what is really a calculated simulation, the erasure of our voice, the manipulation and co-optation of our people, as well as threats and repression. And so it goes until they say it’s done; they proclaim that we agreed to their death projects or that we were divided and they must thus attend to all points of view.

Meanwhile, as they try to keep us quiet with their deceitful consultation agenda and while the NGOs that are “experts” in “consultation” fatten their wallets, they race ahead to concretize—before the supposed consultation has even begun—the theft of the water from the Yaqui River, the destruction of Wirikuta through mining concessions, the construction of oil pipelines that invade the entire Isthmus, and the GMOs imposed in the Riviera Maya.

Our geographies are the paths of the world; this is where we will meet and recognize each other, because we know that the struggle is not just today nor is it just for today. We do not struggle for power or the folklore offered by deceitful campaigns, but rather to weave and reweave what we are, what we were, and what we will be as originary peoples.

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The face of the 43 missing and the tenacity of their families and compañeros are the other 43 dispatches on war and resistance. To them we add the pain, rage, and resistance of the originary peoples and the rebellions of millions all over Mexico and around the world.

On top of that we add the dispatches of war and resistance from the other who is persecuted and stigmatized, women who have been abused, disappeared, and murdered, children made into commodities, young people criminalized, nature disgraced, humanity in pain.

We reiterate today, alongside that humanity, along with this earth that we are, that truth and justice are an inalienable demand and that punishment for the culpable—all of those responsible—will be born from the struggle from below. Now more than ever, as originary peoples of the National Indigenous Congress, we know that in this struggle there is no room to give up, sell out, or give in.

Truth and Justice for Ayotzinapa!

Free Luis Fernando Sotelo Zambrano!

Free all of the political prisoners!

For the holistic reconstitution of our peoples.

Never Again a Mexico Without Us.

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Mexico, September 2016

[i] The federal government first offered an explanation for the disappearance of the students from Ayotzinapa consisting of their murder and incineration at the garbage dump in Cocula, Guerrero. The explanation has been heavily criticized and largely disproven by forensic scientists and investigators.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/09/22/parte-de-guerra-y-de-resistencia-44/.



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EZLN: One House, Other Worlds

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July/August/September, 2016

To whom it may concern:

Topic: Invitation to “CompArte and ConCiencias for Humanity.”

Yes, we know. Days and nights go by in which bitterness is the only thing that appears on the horizon. Our steps drag along in pain, rage, and indignation, stumbling every so often over the impertinent gaze of cynicism and our own disappointment; over the stupidity exalted in government positions and polls; over simulation as a way of life; over the substitution of frivolity for culture, art, and science; over the multiple tiers of disrespect for the different (the problem isn’t that the other exists, but that it shows itself”); and over a wholesale resignation in the political market sphere (“oh well, the only option left is to choose not the lesser evil, but the least scandalous”). Yes, things are hard, harder every day. It is as if the night has become longer. It is as if the day has postponed its stride until no one and nothing is left, until the path is empty. It is as if there was no breath left. The monster lies in wait in every corner, countryside, and city street.

Despite all this, or precisely because of it, we send you this invitation.

It may seem that it is not the moment nor the matter at hand, but we Zapatistas invite you to participate in the festivals “CompArte and ConCiencias for Humanity.” So, respecting etiquette, we have to send an invitation. This should be something that details a calendar and a geography, because we know that you have your own path, your own pace, your own company on that path, and your own destiny. And we don’t want to add another difficulty to those that you already confront. Thus, an invitation must include the when and where.

But you know who we are. You know how we are, that is. And the question that we think an invitation must address is not the when and where, but rather the why. Perhaps that is why this invitation does not comply with the etiquette of the occasion and does not arrive on time, but rather too late or too early. But as you’ll see, it doesn’t matter. That is why this invitation is very other, and why it includes as a crucial element this little story:

One House, Other Worlds

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It’s more of a legend than a story. That is, there’s no way to confirm the truthfulness of what is told here. This is partly because it details no specific calendar or geography; it could have happened, or not, in any undefined time or place. It is also because the supposed non-protagonist of this story is dead, deceased, done, defunct. If he was alive, we could just ask if he actually said what it says here that he said. And as he was always tenacious in his wanderings through the tree tops, it is likely that he would go on at length to describe this imprecise calendar.

In any case, since we don’t have the exact date, we’ll just say it was more than two decades ago. The geography? The mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

It was Comandante Tacho who told us the story in the wee hours of the morning at the EZLN headquarters. He was describing the house of the system, the home of capital, the storm, and the ark. We were in our headquarters, the headquarters where what would later become the seedbed/seminar was born. We think we took a coffee break… or that we adjourned the meeting in order to continue the next day… to tell you the truth, we don’t really remember. The point is that we were talking to Tacho and it was he who told us what we’re going to tell you now. There is of course a little bit of finagling involved because we have added to and rearranged Tacho’s original words. We did this not out of bad faith, disrespect, or an attempt to mend faulty memories, but because both of us who are writing now knew the deceased quite well and can reconstruct his words and feelings. Here goes:

This is Comandante Tacho speaking:

I don’t remember very well when it was, but it was when the deceased Sup was not yet deceased. He was just the Sup, staying up all night and smoking his pipe. Yes, chewing on the pipe, as usual. We were in the shelter that was the EZLN headquarters, although it wasn’t a shelter because it wasn’t finished yet. That is, it wasn’t EZLN headquarters yet.  Perhaps it was going to be, but not yet.

We were telling funny stories, things that happened in the communities, in the meetings, in the work of the struggle. The Sup was just listening, sometimes laughing, sometimes asking more about what happened. Before I really knew him I didn’t understand why. Later I realized that these accounts would appear later as stories in the communiques. I think he called them ‘postscripts.’ I asked him once why he called an account of what had really happened just a story. He said, ‘The thing is that they don’t believe the accounts, they think I am making things up or imagining things. So I write it like it’s a story because they are not ready to see the reality.’

Anyway, so there we were.

So then he asked the Sup…”

Yes, Tacho has used the third person singular: “he.” In order to clarify we asked him if by “he” he meant the Sup. “No,” he answered us, annoyed, “he asked the Sup.” We didn’t want to insist because we thought, perhaps mistakenly, that that wasn’t the point of the story, or that it was merely one piece of a puzzle still being sketched out. So Comandante Tacho used the word “he.” Not “she,” not “I,” not “we.” He said “he” in referring to the person who was questioning the Sup.

Hey Sup, how come every time we are building a house, you ask if we are building it according to traditional custom or by scientific method?”

Here Tacho took the time to clarify:

“Every time that we built a house, the deceased SupMarcos would come and stare at the beams and rafters. Then he would always ask:

‘That crossbeam that you’re putting there, are you putting it there because it is necessary for the construction of the house?’ Then I would respond, ‘Yes, if you don’t put it there the roof will fall in.’

‘I see,’ the Sup said, ‘but how do you know that if you don’t put it there that the roof will fall in?’

I just looked at him because I knew that wasn’t the real question. It wasn’t the first time he had asked it. He continued, ‘do you put it there because you know scientifically that if you don’t the roof will fall in, or do you put it there because it is traditional custom to do so?’

‘Because it’s traditional custom,’ I answered him, ‘because that is how I was taught. That is how my father built houses, and he learned from my grandfather, and so on going way back.’ The Sup was not satisfied, and always ended up climbing up onto the central beam before the supports were finished and, balancing as if he were riding a horse, would ask, ‘so if I get up here, is the beam going to fall?’ And boom, he would fall. ‘Ouch!’ was the only thing he’d say. He’d take out his pipe from where he landed on the ground, light it, and with his head resting on the broken beam, gaze up at the roof. We would all laugh of course.

So that’s why he asked the Sup why the Sup was always asking about whether something was done by traditional custom or scientific method.  The thing is that it wasn’t just that one time. Every time that our headquarters had to be moved and I had to oversee the construction of a new structure for the headquarters, that is what happened. The Sup would come, he would ask that question, I would respond, he wouldn’t be satisfied, he would climb up on the beam, it would break, and he would fall to the ground.”

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(Note: in discussing this between the two of us, we have concluded that the approximate dates for what Tacho is recounting were the first months of 1995 when there was such heavy governmental persecution against us that we had to continually pick up and move our headquarters, accompanying the community of Guadalupe Tepeyac in exile. End of note and Tacho continues):

“I am telling you this so that you understand why he asked the Sup this question. At other times I had also asked him this question, but he hadn’t responded fully. It wasn’t that he hadn’t wanted to respond, but that always at that moment they called him on the radio, or someone came to talk to him. So I wanted to know the answer too.

The Sup took his pipe out of his mouth and put it to one side. We were sitting on the ground. It was very hot like it always is before a hard rain. I knew the answer would take a while, because when the Sup answered quickly, he didn’t even take the pipe out of his mouth; the words would just come out all chewed up.

So then the Sup said… well really, he asked:

‘Hey Tacho, how big is this house?’
‘3 by 4 [metres],’ I answered quickly, because it wasn’t the first time he asked.

‘And if it were 6 x 8, would it need more rafters for support?’ he asked me.

‘It would indeed,’ I responded.

‘And if were 12 x 16?’

I didn’t respond quickly, so the Sup continued:

‘And if it were 24 x 32? Or 48 x 64? What about 96 x 128?’

Then, to tell you the truth, I laughed. ‘That’s a really big house, I don’t know,’ I answered.

‘Correct,’ he said, ‘houses are made according to one’s own or one’s inherited experience. Traditions and customs, that is. To make a bigger house, one would have to ask or try something different.’

‘But let’s say that no one has ever built a house measuring 192 x 256…’

I laughed right before the Sup finished:

‘kilometres.’

‘Umm, who would want a house that big?’ I asked laughing.

He lit his pipe and said, ‘well, let’s make it easier: what if the house were the size of the world?’

‘Ah no, that’s rough. I don’t think we can imagine a house that big, nor what it would be for,’ I said, more serious now.

‘We can,’ he said. ‘The arts can imagine this house, and can put it into words, sounds, images, figures. The arts can imagine what seems impossible and, in this process of imagination, sew doubt, curiosity, surprise, admiration—that is, they make it possible.

‘Ah, okay,’ I replied, ‘but it’s one thing to imagine and another thing to do. I don’t think a house that big can be made.’

‘It can,’ he said, and put the broken pipe aside.

‘The sciences know how. Even if a house the size of the world has never been made, the sciences can say with certainty how a construction that size would be built. I don’t know what it’s called, but I think it has to do with the strength of the materials, geometry, economics, physics, geography, biology, chemistry, and who the hell knows what else.

But even without previous experience, without traditional customs, science can in fact say how many beams, supports, and rafters are needed to make a house the size of the world. Scientific knowledge can determine how deep the foundation needs to be, how high and how long the walls need to be, what angle the roof should have if it is a pitched roof, where the windows should be given the climate, how many doors there should be and where, what material should be used for each part, and how many beams and supports it must have and where.’”

Was the now-deceased already thinking about the transgression of the law gravity and all of the straight lines linked to it? Did he imagine or already know about the subversion of Euclid’s Fifth Postulate? No, Tacho didn’t ask him. To tell you the truth, the two of us wouldn’t have asked either. It is hard to imagine, in those days of no tomorrow, with warplanes shaking the earth and sky, that there was time to think about art, much less science.

Everyone remained silent, Tacho recalls. Us, too. After a moment of silence and tobacco, he continued:

“The Sup took up his pipe again and saw with sorrow that there was no more tobacco. He looked in his pockets. Smiling, he pulled out a little plastic bag with some black strands. It took him awhile to light the pipe, I think because the tobacco was damp. Then he continued:

‘But I’m not concerned about whether the arts can imagine this house, its colours, its shapes, its sounds, where the day comes in, where the night falls, where the rain falls, where the wind blows, where the earth sits.

Neither am I concerned about whether science can solve the problem of how to make it a reality. Of course it can. It has the knowledge… or it will.

What concerns me is that this house that is a world not be the same as the one we live in. The house must be better, even bigger. It must be so big that it can hold not one world but many, those that already exist and those yet to be born.

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Of course, one would have to meet with those who do art and science. That won’t be easy. At first they won’t be willing to help, not because they don’t want to but because they will be sceptical. Because we have a lot going against us. Because we are what we are.

Those who are artists think that we will constrain the subject, form, and pace of their work; that their artistic horizon will hold only males and females (never others), members of the powerful proletariat showing off their muscles and bright shining gazes in images, sounds, dances, and figures; that they could not even insinuate the existence of the other; that if they comply they will receive praise and applause, and if not, seclusion or repudiation. In other words, they think we will command that they not imagine.

Those who do science think that we are going to ask them to create mechanical, electronic, chemical, biological, and interstellar weapons of mass (or individual) destruction. They think that we will force them to create schools for exceptional minds where of course one will find the descendants of those currently in power who have a salary guaranteed before they are ever conceived. They think that what will be recognized is political affiliation and not scientific capacity, and that if they comply they will receive praise and applause, and if not, seclusion or repudiation. In other words, they think that we will command them not to do science.

In addition, because we are indigenous peoples, there are some [un@s and otr@s] here and there who think that what they do is art and culture, and that what we do is folk art and ritual. They think that what for them is analysis and knowledge, for us is belief and superstition.

They are ignorant of the fact that we have produced colours that, hundreds of years later, still challenge calendars. They do not know that when “civilization” still believed that the earth was the centre of the universe, we had already discovered celestial bodies and numerical systems. They think that we adore ignorance, that our thinking is simple and conformist, that we prefer to believe rather than to know. They think that we do not want advancement but rather regression.

In other words, they neither see themselves, nor do they see us.

The issue then is going to be to convince them to see themselves as we see them, to make them realize that, for us, they are what they are and also something else: hope. And hope, friends and enemies, cannot be bought, cannot be sold, cannot be coerced, cannot be contained, and cannot be killed.’

He fell silent. I waited to see if he would ask something else of the Sup, but since he didn’t say anything, I asked: ‘so what must we do?’ The Sup just sighed and said:

‘Our job is first of all to know that this house is possible and necessary. Then comes the easier part: to build it. For this task we need knowledge, feeling, imagination—we need the sciences and the arts. We need other hearts. The day will come when we will meet with those who make art and science. On that day we will embrace them and welcome them with one sole question: “And what about you?”’

I wasn’t satisfied with this answer though, and I asked the Sup: ‘And after we meet with these people, what are we going to do?’ The Sup smiled and said:

‘Etcetera.’”

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That is where the story or the legend that Comandante Tacho told us that morning ends.  All of this is relevant at the moment because we want to invite you to come, or to be present in some way, in this earth that we are.

We have this curiosity, you could say, that has been nagging at us over the course of many pages of the calendar and we think that perhaps you will accept this invitation and help us to resolve a particular doubt:

What do we need to build a new house, a house so big that it holds not one but many worlds?

That’s all. Or not, depending on you.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

In the name of the Zapatista children, elders, women, and men,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July/August/September of 2016.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/09/12/una-casa-otros-mundos/

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THE ART THAT IS NEITHER SEEN NOR HEARD.

(Note: the following are the comments made by Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés to mark the conclusion of the Zapatistas’ contribution to the CompArte, in the Caracol of Oventik, on July 29, 2016. The threat of rain and the pressure of time did not allow for the compañero to fully develop some of his points and there were others that he was unable to touch on at all. Here we present the original version that he was going to give. In his voice, our Zapatista word).

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO.

July 29, 2016.

Artists of Mexico and the world:

Sisters, brothers, and hermanoas:

For us, Zapatistas, art is studied by creating many imaginations, reading the gaze, studying in listening, and practicing.

It is by putting it into practice, that is, by doing it, that you will begin to see the result of the science and the art of imagination – the art of creativity.

There is some science and art that is needed immediately, the kind that helps us imagine how to do it.

There can be medium term science and art, and there is long term science and art that improves over the course of time.

For example: To even make something tiny that will contribute to the new world requires that we involve ourselves profoundly in the science and art of imagination, in the gaze, in listening and in creativity, patience, and attention. It requires that we think about how to move forward while building and many other things that must be taken into account.

Because what we want, or what we think about, is a new world, a new system. We don’t want a copy of what we have, we don’t want to improve it a little bit. This is a problem, we say, because there is no book or manual that explains how to create this new world. This book or manual hasn’t been written yet, it is still in the heads of those with imagination, in the eyes that are ready to gaze at the new world that they want to see, in the ears that are attentive in order to hear the new world that they want.

This requires a lot of wisdom and intelligence, a good understanding of many words and thoughts.

We say that it works like this because this is how the development of our autonomy has been and will continue to be.

It was built by thousands of Zapatista men and women, with science and art, and for now it can be seen in the 5 zones of the caracoles.

The art that we are showing you, our compañeras and compañeros, had a crude birth, it emerged from the heads of those women and men who themselves decided how to present it to you, [it is] about how they have worked as Zapatistas and autonomous people, with their resistance and their rebellious ways.

The entire process was a chain of art – from the thinking about what they would present, whether it would be a dance number, song, poetry, sculpture, theatre, or pottery, to the words, the ideas about how they would get from place to place, then where they were going to get the money for their rehearsal and performances, because they are collectives from the community, the region, the municipalities and the zone.

There were three rounds of selection. For the first round, the people got together in their regions; then the regions met as autonomous municipalities for the second selection; and the municipalities met in zones for the final round.

Their preparations took months.

For the communities of thousands of Zapatista men and women, it was another iteration of what we are, but in a different form, it didn’t happen through conversation or blah blah blah, but through the technique of Art, and everyone participated – children, teenagers, fathers, mothers, and grandparents.

In artistic form, in the art form of the Zapatista compañer@s, they were practicing their resistance and rebellion, their autonomous government of the Junta de Buen Gobierno, their MAREZ (Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion), their local authorities (comisariadas, comisariadosagentas, and agentes), their autonomous health systems, their autonomous education system, their autonomous radio stations, their 7 principles of lead by obeying in their new system of autonomous government, their democracy as communities, their justice, their freedom, their defence of mother earth, and their collective work on mother earth. This will all be the basis on which new generations of young women and young men will be formed, the basis for the Zapatista future.

This is what we presented to you, compañeras and compañeros of the national and international Sixth from Mexico and the world; only a small portion of the compañer@s that were going to participate actually participated. One day we will present the rest to you, but right now there isn’t time, because if we had all come, it would have taken over a month to do all of our presentations, and so that means that there is also an art and a science to how we planned to do a one-day presentation. Because the most marvellous of all of the arts is collective mutual support.

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Compañeras and compañeros from the National and International Sixth.

Sisters and brothers of Mexico and the world.

The storm and the hydra of monstrous capitalism wants to prevent us from seeing one another, but through our great effort we are seeing one another here and now.

The compañeras and compañeros from the thousands of Zapatista bases of support for the Zapatista Army for National Liberation want to show you their art.

You have seen one part here and in other caracoles you could see other parts. Because more than two thousand artists have been selected and there were even more who didn’t come, not because they didn’t make it through the selection process, but because we didn’t have the money to transport thousands of compañera and compañero artists.

Our compañera and compañero artists aren’t professional artists, but rather their profession is what we call “Everythingologist [Todólogo]” because they are carpenters, masons, shop keepers, they work the land, are radio hosts, milicianos and milicianasinsurgentas and insurgents, autonomous authorities, teachers at the Zapatista little school, health and education promoters, and they still find the time to be artists.

They are true artists in the art of constructing a new system of governance, the autonomy where the people command and the government obeys.

It is an art that you can see, study, and that exists in practice, that you can know through its sharing.

But the compañeras and compañeros also make other art that you don’t know about, that isn’t disclosed in any press releases.

It is the art of solidarity, the support for the people who struggle.

Because the other art and science that the compañera and compañero Zapatista bases of support practice is their support for the struggle of the teachers’ movement.

You did not see this science and art, but the way it was delivered; the food support was like the art of a hornet’s nest, but there was also an art and science that preceded this.

This is what happened:

We realized that we needed to support this struggle by the teachers who are resisting the capitalist hydra and storm, which we have been talking about for a year.

So then we figured out how much support we were able to give. First we used our word to support them, to say that their struggle is a just one.

Then we tried to figure out how to support the resistance at the sites where they were putting up roadblocks and sit-ins and we realized that we could support them by providing food.

Then we assessed how much support we could send them, and first, how our compañeras and compañeros would respond if we supported them with food from the little that we have as a result of our collective labours.

We figured out how, for example, the food support could work—the delivery, the bags, and all of that. But what you don’t see is the organization of the food collection community by community, the division of how much each community was supposed to provide, figuring out how many tons they were going to be able to get together so that they could figure out how they were going to transport it. Then there was the timing, because the news was saying that the blockades were still there, and then that the teachers were going to take them down to avoid being forcefully evicted because what they were doing was really hurting the rich, and this put a lot of pressure on us because the food that we collected would spoil if there wasn’t any place to take it to.

They had meetings everywhere in order to come to an agreement, because all of the compañer@ssaid that the support that we needed to give to the teachers’ movement was just and necessary.

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So they started to do the math (i.e division), the accounts as we say, say of how much each zone, MAREZ, region, and community was responsible for. There were a few zones where the commissions failed to meet their goal, they didn’t fail in a bad way, but in a good way, because they had reported that their commission would provide 2 tons of food and when the time came they actually provided 7 tons more than they had promised, which was the case with the Zapatista bases of support in the North Zone of Chiapas, from the caracol of Roberto Barrios. And so, well, resolving the problem was Art, because no one had even imagined that they could provide 9 tons. We only had a 3-ton truck.

The compañeras’ work is really art, because they were asked how long it will take them to have 100 thousand tostadas ready – how could they calculate that when the corn is still on the cob?

Well the compañeras responded that the tostadas would be ready on x day at x time. Because they know how many hours it takes to cook the corn, and how many tostadas you can get from a kilo of corn.

And the compañeras even add flavour to the tostadas, from a little bit of beans, and salt, because they know that the tostadas are to support the teachers at the sit-ins and in resistance.

And that is how they did it and now it is done, but you can’t see it because it is already in people’s stomachs, or it has become fertilizer because the companer@ teachers have already consumed it.

Collective work, the common, made it so that they could move things easily, from one hand to another, others moved things on horses, others by foot and on their back, others by car.

Thanks to the collective work of the compañeras and compañeros.

It was all a mathematic calculation, from beginning to end.

All of this, it is all an expenditure, and the great majority is from collective work, communities, regions, autonomous municipalities. It is the real fruit of our work as organized communities of men and women.

But you didn’t see any of this and you wouldn’t know about it if we didn’t tell you about it, and it’s all the work of our Zapatista compañera and compañero bases of support, in order to show that we care about a people who struggles with resistance.

Why do we do this? Well, because we know and understand what it is to resist in struggle and how much work it takes to maintain a struggle in resistance.

Figuring out how to provide this support is an art of imagination by the Zapatista communities.  The “resistance” of the compañeras and compañeros has gone on for 22 years, and that’s a lot of experience and is a great building block solidarity. It is the demonstration of collectivity. For 22 years we Zapatistas have been in resistance and rebellion against capitalism, and we’ve had, for 22 years, a new system of governing ourselves where the people command and the government obeys.

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There are those who think that we should go out and struggle for the teachers. But if they think that way, then they haven’t understood anything at all. Because that would mean that that I want someone to come and struggle for me. We Zapatista men and women don’t ask for anyone to come and struggle for us. Each person must struggle, and we should mutually support one another, but that support cannot replace each person’s struggle. Whoever struggles has the right to decide the direction of their path and with whom they walk that path. If others insert themselves, then they are no longer supporting that struggle, but supplanting it. Support is respect, not trying to direct or command. Just as we have understood that no one is going to give us what we need to eat if we don’t work for it ourselves – it’s the same thing. No one is going to liberate us except for ourselves.

That is how we peoples of Mexico and the world organize ourselves, how we struggle in the world where we are in order to change it, as workers, teachers, peasants, all kinds of workers, we don’t hold out hope that someone is going to come and struggle for us.

This is how we already live, and they [the bad government] only come to try to manipulate us, to fool us and to do the all of the things they do to us.

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Art, brothers and sisters, compañeras and compañeros, is very important, because it is what provides us with an illustration of something new in life, something that illustrates something very different in real life—it doesn’t lie.

Art is so powerful because it is already real life in the communities where the people command and the government obeys, thanks to the art of the imagination and the knowledge of how to create a new society, how to create a life in common. Our art shows that it is possible to create another form of governing, one that is totally different, that it is possible to create another life working in common to benefit the community itself.

This makes me think of the deceased Subcomandante Insurgente Marcos, who often asked us questions when we were building a little house, there in the jungle, with Comandante Tacho. The deceased asked us, “These crossbeams, what are they for? Can you explain to me scientifically what they are for? And we were about to answer, when he hit us with another question, “Is it science, or is it custom?” Comandante Tacho and I looked at each other, and since he was in charge of the construction it was up to him to respond, “Well, I learned from my father, and my father learned from my grandfather, and so on,” said Comandante Tacho. The deceased responded, “Ah, well then it’s custom, and it’s not based on a scientific study.” So he explained to us why the sciences and the arts are so important. And now we are coming to understand this. But wait, I’ll tell you what the deceased scribbled down or wrote to us from the place where he now lives six feet under; we’re going to ask him to send it to us and we are going to publish it, those of us who are still alive here where he had been living before. So compañeras and compañeros, sisters and brothers. We Zapatistas think that now more than ever, we need ART, ORIGINARY PEOPLES, AND THE SCIENTISTS in order to give birth to a new world.

So compañera and compañero artists from the National and International Sixth, get involved in the work of art with a lot of enthusiasm.

Join us, brothers and sisters of Mexico and the world, in dreaming of an art where the people command, for their own good and the good of the people themselves.

Thank you,

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.

Mexico, July 29, 2016.

Song, “The Capacity of Women”. Lyrics, music, and choreography from the young, female and musical Zapatista group “Dignity and Resistance,” bases of support from the Altos Zone of Chiapas. When they performed in Oventik, on June 29 in the afternoon, the sound system failed and it made them a little bit sad. And so on June 30, in CIDECI, SubMoy asked the compañero musicians Panteón Rococó and Oscar Chávez to stop for a minute and they gave up a few minutes of their time (Thank you Don Óscar, thank you Panteones). The compañeras were able to present what they had been preparing for more than 5 months. When they finished they reported back to SupMoy. “We’re back,” they said. SupMoy said, “How did it go?” and they said, “we won.” SupMoy didn’t say anything but he was definitely thinking,” “All in all, 500 years is a short time, but I never thought that I would get to hear this.”  They continued, “We felt a little bad because the people were asking for another. A lot of people were yelling ‘One more! One more!’ but we didn’t know another one. It took us a long time just to make this one. If they want another one, they are going to have to wait a another six months.” SubMoy asked, “And so what did you do?” “We left the stage quickly and hid ourselves among the compañeros.” That’s what they said and then they went to the dance floor for the Panteones’ ska.

Song. “The Capacity of Women.”

Dance number: “The Dance of the collective work of Maize.” Choreography by the Zapatista bases of support of the Altos Zone in Chiapas. This is the version that they presented during the selection process. For the presentation on July 29 in Oventik they added a few more things, as those who were there got to see. Maybe in the compa media they have a video of July 29 in Oventik.

Dance number: “The Dance of the Collective work of Maize.”

                         

Poetry: “When the Horizon looks to tomorrow.” Written by a young Zapatista base of support from the Altos Zone in Chiapas. This is the version that he presented in the selection process. When he presented it, he was told that there would be a lot of people there, but not to get nervous. “Keep your eyes on your notebook and don’t look up,” they recommended. He said that he wasn’t scared but he was confused about one thing. “What is it?” they asked him. He said, “I don’t know if you are supposed to say ‘poem’ or ‘poetry’. And so we ask you for a reply to his question.

Poetry: “When the Horizon Looks to Tomorrow.”

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/08/03/el-arte-que-no-se-ve-ni-se-escucha .



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Words Of The EZLN At CompARTE In Oventik

 

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WORDS OF THE GENERAL COMMAND OF THE EZLN, IN THE VOICE OF SUBCOMANDANTE INSURGENTE MOISÉS, AT THE OPENING OF THE ZAPATISTAS’ PARTICIPATION IN CompARTE, CARACOL OF OVENTIK, CHIAPAS, MEXICO, MORNING OF JULY 29, 2016.

In the name of the compañeras and compañeros bases of support of the Zapatista Army of National Liberation, I want to tell you how we feel about the things that they do to us as originary peoples of Mexico. I think it is the same all across the world.

We want to tell you, explain to you once again, how much suffering this rotten capitalist system has caused us.

Don’t feel bad, compañeras and compañeros from the national and international Sixth, brothers and sisters of the world, about everything that I am about to tell you because it isn’t about you. It’s about what the capitalist system does to us and the conditions that it forces on us, especially those of us who are ORIGINARY PEOPLES in this country called Mexico.

I am going to talk about how we Zapatista men and women feel about what they did to our indigenous brothers and sisters from the town of San Juan Chamula, on June 23 of this year.

What happened there pains us as Zapatistas.

I mean what really happened there, not what the paid media (those who sell out for a few pennies) say happened there.

We know perfectly that the paid media says that in Chamula the municipal president from the Verde Ecologista (PVEM, Green Ecological Party of Mexico) was killed. Because this is the party of the overseer Velasco,[i] the paid media are there crying and lamenting what happened, but they say nothing of the rest of the dead. They say nothing of those who later died in their homes or of those whose dead or dying bodies were taken away by their families. For the government and the press those deaths don’t matter. There were actually dozens of dead, not just five corrupt officials.

Everyone in Chamula and in all of the indigenous communities of the Altos of Chiapas knows what really happened. They know that it was the guards of the corrupt municipal president (of the Verde party) who initiated the shootout and who killed and injured many of the people who were in the plaza. It wasn’t until later that another armed group arrived to finish off these (Verde) officials. Yes, finish them off, because they had already been killed with clubs and machetes.

The government and its journalist employees want to present what happened as just a small problem. They talk about the municipal president as a “poor thing.” They claim that he was simply trying to respond to the people’s complaints but that those “savage” Chamulans, as the press calls them, had to go and kill him.

All of this is a lie. Every single thing that they have said in the paid media is a lie. It is a lie that was bought for a few pennies, and the paid media would rather interview “experts,” as they call them, than go and actually investigate what happened.

We are not going to report what happened in detail. We will leave this task to those who were the real victims that day and who have been the victims for a long time now. They will know perfectly well how and when to explain things.

But what we will tell you is that what followed pains us to no end: how the paid media began to report a bunch of nonsense and lies about indigenous peoples. Even those media who claim to be very progressive did the same thing. It pains us how they made a corrupt politician into a hero. It pains us that they lied to everyone, becoming accomplices to the crime. And it pains us how they knelt before Velasco so he could climb on their backs and present himself as some great saviour. It’s on them [the media] that they sell out for mere pennies.

It does not matter to us that the people of Chamula are not Zapatistas. They are our brothers. Those people who killed each other in the community of San Juan Chamula are indigenous peoples, originary peoples, part of our originary race. It brings us no satisfaction to see indigenous people killing one another, even if they support the political party system. It gives us no pleasure to see indigenous people presented as “savages” by those who are the true savages—the criminal government, their political party supporters, and their obedient paid press.

What matters to us is who planned this, who wanted things to happen this way.

We suffer an immense and seemingly incurable pain from all those things that those above have done to us.

We understand clearly that no one else can cure this pain. Only we can do so that, and to do so we will have to work and work very hard.

All of the bad things that happen in our communities, towns, barrios, and neighbourhoods HAPPEN BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL PARTIES, RELIGIONS, AND DRUG TRAFFICKERS THAT MEDDLE THERE.

They use us indigenous people for anything and everything that those above want.

They want to turn us into servants of those above by having us work as mayors, councilmen, and state and federal representatives. Why do they want us to do this? So that we will learn to make money without working, so that we will learn to be corrupt while we disguise ourselves as servants of the people.

I don’t know what they see us as, because even garbage is good for fertilizer. In our case they don’t even see us as garbage. We are nothing but shit to those above.

They treat us like shits, and because they’ve already made use of that shit they have to throw it out, however they feel like.

I cannot even say that they treat us like animals or pets because they at least treat their pets like living things.

They look at us indigenous peoples of the world and say “backward,” “uncivilized,” “nuisances,” “primitives,” “revolting,” and countless other absurdities that they have said about us and done to us.

For centuries and centuries, we have resisted all of this.

We are flesh, blood, and bone, just like them.

But we indigenous men and women are not hurting ANYONE.

They have wanted to destroy and disappear us, but they will never succeed.

They have divided us with religion, miseducation in the schools, and the political party system. They have imposed on us another culture, a bad politics, and a harmful ideology.

Compañeras and compañeros from the national and international Sixth, brothers and sisters of the world:

We say to you clearly: we are not the shit of those above to be treated like this. We are humans of blood, bone, and flesh just like they are. We are not the same colour as they are, but we are living beings.

We do not want to be bad like they are, those who use other humans.

Yet today what they are trying to show is that it is we indigenous that are bad, that we kill one another as happened in San Juan Chamula.

The ones who wanted this to happen are the political parties above, from the ruling PRI and the PVEM and all of the political parties.

That is what happens with the other political parties too, including those who say they are on the left. They use us as their shock troops, but these parties are the ones who are backwards and evil, and yet we are always the ones who end up paying the price.

I am not saying that we originary peoples are all good; we have our own problems but we can resolve them ourselves. What happened in Chamula was the fault of the political parties and the leaders of those parties.

The media doesn’t mention this because they don’t get paid to tell the truth. On the contrary, they make more money by hiding information.

The journalists who work for the newspapers have to do what their bosses tell them if they want to get paid. They have already lost their dignity, and the same goes for the religious leaders who are well aware that they are deceiving us. They too have lost their dignity.

Who taught them to be corrupt, to steal and crook? Those above did.

The municipal president from San Juan Chamula who died was from the Verde party and he didn’t want to pay what he owed to the indigenous peoples, his own people. They had already said to him many times before to hand over the money already! But he didn’t open his ears and listen to them. Where did this municipal president learn to act this way? He learned it in the service of the bad government.

For decades and decades and hundreds of years they have deceived, mistreated, and used us, which is why no one pays attention to us indigenous peoples.

The teachings of above are bad, horrible. Those indigenous who have let themselves be used by those above and become mayors, councilmen, like the councilwoman from Las Margaritas (Florinda from the PAN) in La Realidad, and the ex-federal representative of the CIOAC (Antonio Hernández Cruz), both Tojolabales. They have learned to ignore the communities and not take them into account. They are the ones who planned the murder of our compañero Galeano, a teacher of the Zapatista Little School. We have not forgotten.

The bad things that they want to teach us could fill volumes. For example, I’m indigenous, a small landholder with ten hectares.  But I begin to call myself a rancher. Yet an ejido commoner who has the right to 20 hectares…they are not considered a rancher even though they have 20 hectares. But those 20 hectares aren’t worth anything; what’s considered worthwhile is to be a property owner.  So now those people that now consider themselves ranchers believe that they are no longer indigenous. And that’s not even counting those who have become mayors or councilmen, because they now consider themselves middle class. They even begin to say that they don’t know how to speak their indigenous language.

Why is it that we indigenous peoples have to pay with our lives just so that others can have money to eat?

All of the paid media compete over the price at which they will sell their photos of the dead in San Juan Chamula. But they don’t report who is responsible for the deaths, and all levels of government pay whatever is necessary so that the names of those actually responsible—they themselves—don’t come out in print.

The press only prints what the bad governments say. Why didn’t the reporters and photographers show the rest of the dead? Why didn’t they show those who were killed by the municipal president’s guards, his opponents? The media doesn’t care about that because it doesn’t make them any money, and because the people who died there were Indians, and it doesn’t even matter that those Indians belonged to political parties. They were all just Indians. Isn’t this racism? From the same people who supposedly speak out against racism.

Those who supposedly “work” for the paid media have already received their pay for selling and situating lies, despite the gravity of the situation, even for them. They do not print the truth because the truth doesn’t make them any money. Shame on them, they are the masterminds of falsehood.

They arrive late to the scene of the crime just so that they can take pictures of the dead, but not to investigate the causes of decades of injustice.

They do arrive on time when their paymasters, that is the bad government, want to show the press what supposedly happened. The bad government gives them an opportunity to snap a picture and tells them that everything is under control in that place where the good president and his guards were killed by “Indian savages.” They print everything that the bad government says on this topic.

Within minutes they release this misinformation only to delete it just as quickly. They want people to see it but then forget it quickly. They do this so that people don’t demand to know who is really responsible for what has happened to the indigenous peoples of this country. This is the function of the paid media.

Damn it! We all know that the rich aren’t rich because they work from dawn to dusk. They don’t have to sweat and stink of sweat. They don’t have to worry about being mutilated in accidents with machinery. Their bodies aren’t covered in sweat. They don’t end up deaf because they are subjected to unbearable noise for 8 to 12 hours a day. They don’t get sick from fatigue; they don’t get stressed because they don’t have money for medicine, for food, for their rent, or for the education of their children. They don’t lack anything, thanks to us, the workers in the country and the city.

Without exploiting us, they would not be rich.

This world they have forced on us has come apart.

What is our pay in this capitalist world? Poverty, exploitation, mistreatment, and injustice.

Today they treat us all the same whether we are workers from the country and the city.

Their foremen, the municipal presidents, mistreat us; their butlers, the governors, mistreat us; and their overseers, the federal government, mistreat us. All of them are acting on the orders of their boss: neoliberal capitalism.

We have suffered so much from all of the things that they have done to us, the indigenous peoples from across the whole country, and what they have done to the compañeras and compañeros of the National Indigenous Congress.

But if we defend ourselves, then ah yes, we are “backward-thinking” “savages.”

If we steal a little bag of potato chips, we go to jail. But if the government of Juan Sabines Gutiérrez steals 40 billion pesos, no one goes to jail. They walk away scot-free so that they can continue to steal.

What a bunch of shit! What horror! How racist! There isn’t a single mainstream newspaper in Mexico that would publish this.

There is only injustice for us, the exploited peoples. There was NEVER justice for our great-grandparents; there was no justice before 1968; there was no justice for the slaughter of ’68; there was no justice for the slaughter of women in the city of Juarez, or for the slaughter of the children in the ABC Daycare. There has been no justice for Acteal. There has been no justice for the 43 disappeared students from Ayotzinapa, nor has there been any justice for the many many other injustices.

People of Mexico: we must all organize ourselves and struggle as we indigenous peoples are organized with our new system of government.

But it isn’t up to us to say how you must organize. Yes, we want to share all of our experiences, but we don’t know what the particularities of life are like for the workers, for the teachers, or for other people. But we all know that we want Justice, Freedom, and Democracy, and in this goal is our commonality.

What this system imposes on us is an impossible situation. For example: if I am part of an originary people and a federal representative and my congressional seat is next to federal deputy Diego Fernandez de Ceballos, the large landowner and landlord, and I begin to discuss the agrarian law, proposing the equal division of the land, that no one should have more land than anyone else, how would it be possible for me to come to an agreement with him, me an indigenous person, and him, a large landowner?

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This system doesn’t work, it is rotten, it cannot be fixed. It will fall piece by piece and people will die as a result. We better figure out how to get out of there.

We had better organize ourselves to build a new house, that is, a new society.

No one is going to struggle for us. Just like for us Zapatistas, no one came here and struggled for us. In other words, we had to give our lives because we want more than just our lives.

So, teachers, organize and struggle until the end. Public health workers of Mexico, organize yourselves because the storm is already coming for you. The same goes for every sector of workers: the storm is coming for us.

People of Mexico and poor people of the world: organize yourselves.

Thank you.

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico.

July 29, 2016

[i] Manuel Velasco Coello, governor of Chiapas.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/30/palabras-de-la-comandancia-general-del-ezln-en-voz-del-subcomandante-insurgente-moises-en-la-apertura-de-la-participacion-zapatista-en-el-comparte-en-el-caracol-de-oventik-chiapas-mexico-la-mana/

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EZLN Confirms And Extends Its Participation In CompArte

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EZLN CONFIRMS AND EXTENDS ITS PARTICIPATION IN CompARTE

Zapatista Army of National Liberation.

Mexico.

July 26, 2016

To the participants and attendees of CompArte:

To the National and International Sixth:

Compañeros, compañerascompañeroas:

Although we could not replace the money that had been allocated for food and transportation for our artistic community, as Zapatistas we sought a way not only to reciprocate the efforts of the artists who responded to our invitation to CompArte, but also to make them feel the respect and admiration their artistic work inspires in us.

We would like to inform you of the decision that we have come to:

We will present, though in different calendars and geographies, some of the artistic work that we Zapatistas prepared for you. The presentations will take place according to the following schedule:

Caracol of Oventik: July 29, 2016, from 10:00 national time to 19:00 national time. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tzotzil, Zoque, and Tzeltal originary peoples from Los Altos in Chiapas.

CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas: July 30, 2016. A Zapatista delegation will attend CompArte as listener-viewers.

Caracol of La Realidad: August 3, 2016, from 09:00 on August 3 through the early morning hours of August 4. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tojolabal, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Mame originary peoples as well as mestizos from the Selva Fronteriza zone.

Caracol of La Garrucha: August 6, 2016, from 09:00 on August 6 through the early morning hours of August 7. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tzeltal and Tzotzil originary peoples from the Selva Tzeltal zone.

Caracol of Morelia: August 9, 2016. Celebration of the 13th anniversary of the birth of the Zapatista caracoles and the Juntas de Buen Gobierno, from 09:00 on August 9 through the early morning hours of August 10. Participation by Zapatista artists of the Tojolabal and Tzeltal originary peoples from the Tsots Choj zone.

Caracol of Roberto Barrios: August 12, 2016, from 09:00 on August 12 to the early morning hours of August 13, 2016. Participation by Zapatista artists from the Chol and Tzeltal originary peoples from the Northern zone of Chiapas.

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In order to attend you will need your CompArte registration name tag from CIDECI and to have registered at the table set up for that purpose in CIDECI as of the afternoon of July 27, 2016. Note: bear in mind that here…well, everywhere, it is storm season.

We know that the great majority of you will not be able to attend all of the presentations now that the calendar and geography have been expanded. Or perhaps you will, that is up to you. In any case, whether you are there or not, we will present with you in mind.

THE PAID MEDIA WILL NOT BE ALLOWED ACCESS (even if they pretend that they also work for the unpaid media).

The compa media—that is the free, autonomous, alternative, or whatever-you-call-it media—will be welcome, even by the Tercios Compas, because here we do have trade solidarity.

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As Zapatistas, on this day we reiterate our support for the demand for truth and justice for Ayotzinapa and all of the disappeared that is tirelessly maintained by the mothers, fathers, families, and compañer@s of the missing. To all of them, those who are missing and those who search for them, we offer our greatest embrace. Your pain is our pain and our dignified rage.

From the mountains of Southeastern Mexico,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, July 2016.

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Posted by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity on 28/07/2016

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/26/ezln-confirma-y-extiende-su-participacion-en-el-comparte/

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EZLN: Open Letter On The Aggressions Against The People’s Movement In San Cristóbal De Las Casas, Chiapas

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ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

July 21, 2016

To the current governor and the other overseers of the south-eastern Mexican state of Chiapas:

Ladies (ha) and Gentlemen (double ha):

We do not send greetings.

Before it occurs to you to try (as the PGR [i] is already attempting in Nochixtlán) to blame the cowardly aggression against the people’s resistance encampment in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas on ISIS, we would like to provide you, at no charge, the information we have collected on the subject.

The following is the testimony of an indigenous partidista [ii] (PRI) brother from San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, Mexico:

“At 9am (on July 20, 2016) the Verde party followers were called to the governor’s palace. They went and were told to do again what they had done the other day.”

(NOTE: he is referring to the incident in which a group of indigenous people affiliated with the Partido Verde Ecologista (Green Ecology Party) put on ski masks and went to create chaos at the [teachers’] blockade between San Cristóbal and Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital of Chiapas. When they were detained by the CNTE’s [teachers’ union] security, they first said they were Zapatistas (they weren’t, aren’t, and never will be), and later admitted they were partidistas.

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But this time they were supposed to dialogue so that the people at the blockade would let the trucks from Chamula that do business in Tuxtla go through. The municipal president (who belongs to the Verde Ecologista Party) sent police patrols and local ambulances. The municipal president of San Cristóbal sent some more police. The governing officials in Tuxtla sent a bunch more. See, they [the people from Chamula] had made a deal with the police—they already had a plan. So they went in there like they were going to dialogue but one group went into the blockade’s encampment and started destroying things, stealing or burning everything they found. Then they started shooting—the Verdes are indeed armed—but shooting like a bunch of drunks and druggies. The police were acting like their security detail, their backup. We don’t agree with what the Verdes did. Now the tourists are scared to come to the municipal centre (of San Juan Chamula) and this screws everybody over because it really hurts our businesses. It’s not the blockade but rather the fucking Verdes that are fucking us over. Now we’re going to go protest in Tuxtla and demand they remove that asshole of a president. And if they won’t listen to us, well then we’ll see what we have to do.”

With regard to that clumsy attempt to dress paramilitaries in ski masks and say they were Zapatistas, it was a total failure (in addition to being a tired old trick that has been tried before by Croquetas Albores).[iii] Questioned on whether they thought it had been Zapatistas who destroyed the blockade and committed these outrageous acts, here are the comments of two townspeople, without any known political affiliation:

A street vendor, approximately 60 years old:

“No! The people who destroyed all that stuff yesterday are people paid by the government, we all know that. They aren’t the ones that support the teachers. The teachers’ struggle is valid; the other option would be that we’d have to pay for education ourselves. And where do they get money to pay the teachers anyway? From the people. What we need is for the majority of other states to join the struggle, there are four that are already in but we don’t know how long the others will take.”

A Chamula indigenous person, a street vendor:

Naaahhh, those weren’t Zapatistas. Zapatistas don’t act like that. Plus the Zapatistas support the teachers and those people yesterday were trying to pass themselves off as Zapatistas by putting on ski masks, but they aren’t; they don’t act like Zapatistas at all.”

“So who were those people yesterday?”

“Those are other people, they get paid for that.”

“What do you think of the teachers’ struggle?”

“That we should all support them.”

_*_

We are sure that you don’t know this (either that or the stupidities that you commit are because you are in fact stupid), but the so-called “teachers’ conflict” arose because of the stupid arrogance of that mediocre police wannabe who still works out of the Department of Public Education (SEP by its Spanish acronym. Oh you’re welcome, no thanks needed). After the teachers’ mobilizations and the government’s response in the form of threats, firings, beatings, imprisonment, and death, the teachers in resistance managed to get the federal government to sit down to dialogue. This is in fact a federal issue. It is up to the federal government and the teachers in resistance to dialogue and come to an agreement or not.

You sympathize with the hard-headedness of that mediocre policeman. We Zapatistas sympathize with the teachers’ demands and we respect them. This applies not only to the CNTE, but to the entire people’s movement that has arisen around their demands. As Zapatistas, we have made our sympathy public by supporting them in word and deed, with the small amount of food that we could put together from our own tables.

Do you think this movement, now taken up by so many people, is going to be defeated by evicting a few encampments, even when you disguise it as “citizen rage?” You’ve already seen that doesn’t work. Just like what happened with our brothers, the originary peoples in Oaxaca—if you destroy their camps they’ll build them back up. Time and time again. The thing is that here below there is no fatigue. Your bosses calculated that the teachers’ resistance movement would deflate over summer vacation. Now you’ve seen that you were wrong (hmmm, that’s more than three failures in one evaluation. If we applied the “education reform” in this case you would already have been fired and would be looking for work in the Iberdrola alongside the psychopath.) [iv]

The movement has been able to generate and concretize the sympathies of the people, while you all only generate dislike and repudiation.

As we were already saying as of two months ago, the movement already encompasses various social sectors and, of course, their specific demands. For example, you’re not around to hear it but people are demanding Cancino be removed from office (the supposed municipal president of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, a city in Chiapas, Mexico, in case you didn’t know) and Narciso be put in jail (the paramilitary boss of the ALMETRACH.) [v] This and the other things they are demanding can be summarized in one word: good government. How long will it take you to realize that you are just in the way, parasites that infect the entire society, above and below?

The thing is that you all are so sure of yourselves that you send your attack dogs to steal the few belongings of these people who are PEACEFULLY protesting. Well, we Zapatistas will again begin to collect the food and basic necessities you stole from them and supply them once again. And we will do so over and over again.

Instead of making ridiculous declarations (like denying having a role in that cowardly attack on the people’s encampment in San Cristóbal), you could contribute to the easing of tensions necessary for this dialogue and negotiation to take place as determined by both parties (which are, we might remind you, the Federal Government and the National Coordination of Education Workers). It would be a good idea to tie up your attack dogs (Marco Antonio, Domingo, and Narciso). Just whistle and shake a wad of bills at them and you’ll see how they come running.

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And some unsolicited advice: don’t play with fire in Chamula. The unrest and division you are inciting in that town with your stupidities could provoke an internal conflict of such terror and destruction that you wouldn’t be able to quash it with social network bots or paid “news” articles or the little money that Manuel Joffrey Velasco Baratheon-Lannister has left in the state treasury.

So be calm. Be patient and show some respect. We hope the federal government will dialogue and negotiate with seriousness and commitment, not only because the teachers’ demands are just, but because this might be one of the last times there is someone with whom to dialogue and negotiate. The process of decomposition you have encouraged is so advanced that soon you won’t even know who to slander. Plus there won’t be anyone on the other side of the table. Understood?

So, do your thing. That is, go back to Photoshop, to the celebrity news, the flashy parties, the spectacle, the gossip magazines, to the frivolity of those who lack intelligence. Govern? Oh come now, not even the paid media believe you do that.

It’s better that you step aside and learn, because this is Chiapas, and the Chiapas population is a lot to take for such a lame government.

_*_

To whom it may concern:

As Zapatistas it is our conviction—and we act in accordance—that the movement’s decisions, strategies, and tactics should be respected. This applies to the entire political spectrum. It is not acting in good faith to hitch oneself onto a movement and try to steer it in a direction outside of its internal logic. And that goes for attempts to slow it down or speed it up. If you can’t accept that, then at least say clearly that you want to use this movement for your own ends. If you say so directly, perhaps the movement will follow you, perhaps not. But it is healthier to tell the movement what you are seeking. How do you expect to lead if you don’t respect the people?

We Zapatistas are not going to tell our current teachers (those from the CNTE and also from the towns, barrios, and neighbourhoods that support them) what to do and what not to do. This should be crystal clear to all noble people in struggle: ANY ACTION TAKEN BY THE ZAPATISTAS IN RELATION TO THE CURRENT POPULAR MOVEMENT (or those that later emerge) WILL BE PUBLICLY MADE KNOWN AHEAD OF TIME, always respecting the movement’s times and ways. The National Coordination of Education Workers as well as the originary peoples’ movements, neighbourhoods, and barrios that support the teachers should understand that whatever decisions they make—whether about their path, their destiny, their steps, or their company—they will have our respect and our salute.

This thing of dressing up like Zapatistas and yelling slogans that involve others is fine as a bit of entertainment and a line on your resumé, but it is nevertheless false and dishonest. We did not rise up to hand out stolen junk food, but rather for democracy, freedom, and justice for all. If you think breaking windows and stealing food that isn’t even nourishing is more revolutionary and of more help to the movement, well, let the movement decide. But clarify that you are not Zapatistas. We don’t care when people tell us we don’t understand the “conjuncture,” or that we don’t have a vision of how to use electoral advantage, or that we are petit-bourgeoisie. We only care that that teacher [maestro, maestro] that señora, that señor, that young person [joven, jóvena] feel that here, in the mountains of south-eastern Mexico, there are those who love them, respect them, and admire them. This is what we care about, even though such sentiments do not come into play in grand electoral strategies.

The teachers in resistance and, now more and more often, the people’s movement that gathers around them face very difficult adverse conditions. It isn’t fair that, in the midst of all of that, they have to deal not only with clubs, batons, shields, bullets, and paramilitaries, but also with “advice,” “orientation,” and “with-all-due-respect”-type orders telling them what to do or what not to do, or whether to advance or retreat—that is, what to think and what to decide.

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We Zapatistas don’t send junk food to those who struggle, but rather non-GMO corn tostadas which are not stolen but rather homemade through the work of thousands of men and women who know that to be Zapatista does not mean to hide one’s face but rather to show one’s heart. Because reheated Zapatista tostadas relieve hunger and inspire hope. And you can’t buy that in convenience stores or supermarkets.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 21, 2016

[i] Procuraduría General de la República, Mexico’s Attorney General

[ii] Refers to someone affiliated with one of the registered political parties.

[iii] “Croquetas,” or doggy biscuit, was the nickname assigned by the EZLN to Roberto Albores Guillén, governor of Chiapas from 1998-2000.

[iv] This likely refers to ex-president Felipe Calderón who recently took a job with a subsidiary of Iberdrola.

[v] La Asociación de Locatarios del Mercado Tradicional, Traditional Market Tenants’ Association.

P0sted on 24/07/16 by Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/21/carta-abierta-sobre-la-agresion-al-movimiento-popular-en-san-cristobal-de-las-casas-chiapas/

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EZLN: The Geography? Oventik. The Calendar? July 29, 2016

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The geography? Oventik.

The calendar? July 29, 2016.

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

July 17, 2016

To all the artists participating in the CompArte:

To the National and International Sixth:

Sisters and brothers:

Compañeras, compañeros, and compañeroas:

We send our greetings. We are writing to let you know the following:

13776016_531127683678605_4581549757201433063_nWe want to make sure that all of the artists who have committed to participating in CompArte know and feel our admiration and respect. But also, and above all, we want them to know of our conviction that in the dark hours of the present and the dark hours to come, their work and creativity will be required to find the path that we, humanity as a whole, want, need, and deserve.

When we speak of darkness, we are not only referring to the horrors that emerge and destroy all across the suffering world geography. We are also talking about the political and economic mercantilism that, without really caring much about the actual deaths and tragedies, pounce on the still-warm cadavers of the victims in an attempt to take advantage of and profit off their misfortune.

If the machine imposes a perverse logic in which every tragedy numbs rather than enrages, perhaps it could be the Arts that remind humanity that people not only kill and destroy, impose and dominate, humiliate and doom to oblivion, but can also create, liberate, and remember. Don’t even the most heartbreaking and painful artistic works throb with life and liberty?

We as Zapatistas think that it is wonderful that there are artists who know how to bring forth, from the depths of the darkest calendar, a light for humanity.

Because if not now, when?

We don’t want to make you feel as if you owe anything to anyone—not submission, nor loyal following, nor unconditional support. We do not seek your votes nor your vetoes. We only want to tell you that in this world that we watch from the lookout’s post, we see you. Or better yet, we see your art.

That’s what we think. Yet we see that these words cannot begin to describe our ideas and feelings.

That is why we Zapatistas have silently begun a new endeavour that we want to let you know about here:

We want to greet and honour you for what you are. Not as militants of the causes that populate the world with their various colours and symbols, but rather as the path in which we can make out a better, more human, more dignified tomorrow.

We Zapatistas don’t look up above.

We only lift our eyes and ears in front of the sciences and arts. And it isn’t fear and obedience that raise our gaze. It is the wonder of knowledge, the marvel of the arts.

That is why we have organized ourselves to present a very abbreviated version of what we prepared for CompArte. We have done this with the sole purpose of trying to let you know how great we Zapatistas think you are.

We know that the compas from the Sixth and part of the artistic community in Chiapas—with the always active commitment of the compas at CIDECI—have continued preparations for CompArte to take place at CIDECI, July 23 through 30, 2016. We truly hope that this celebration will be as brilliant as your artistic works and that during these calendars of dark despair, and despite the long night imposed from above, another wind will blow through this corner of the world. Whether in the fleeting moment of a song, the stroke of a painting, a dance step, a photograph, a scripted dialogue, a poem, a whatever, let the hour of the police be defeated and for just a moment, let us breathe in the possibility of another world.

OventicSo then, taking advantage of the fact that some people (not all, we know) will be creating art in CIDECI over the course of those days, we want to invite you [invitarlas, invitarlos, invitarloas] participants and observers to Oventik on July 29, 2016. From 10am to at least 7pm (national time) we will be performing theatre, dance, music, poetry, painting, thinking, and perhaps even riddles. Although it is only a small part of what the communities prepared for CompArte, the five caracoles that encompass the Tzotzil, Chol, Tzeltal, Tojolabal, Zoque, Mame, and mestizo Zapatista communities will be represented. Even on short notice, the Zapatista compas have prepared to celebrate, in your honour, life and freedom.

It won’t be everything we had prepared, but it will be something significant: a gift we want to give you. Maybe you’ll like it, maybe you won’t. But we are sure that you will find here sounds, colours, lights and shadows that have as their only goal to let you hear, see, and feel the “thank you” with which we embrace you.

The Zapatista artists will perform on July 29 and will return to their communities on July 30. That’s unless someone invites them to attend the last day of the CompArte festival in CIDECI. In that case, they will make a stop in CIDECI to learn a little from you all.

So now you know:

The geography? The caracol of Oventik.

The calendar? July 29, 2016, from 10am to 7pm.

Maybe it will rain, maybe not. Maybe it will be cold, maybe not. But here we are, here we will be.

Because it is in this corner of the world where we must resist and struggle, but it is only our temporary home. Our great house, in our dreams and in our tomorrows, is, has been, and will be the world that, with others [l@s otr@s], we will create.

We’ll see you here.

Indeed, we are always hoping to see you here.

And even if you can’t come, we send you a big hug from…

The mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Chiapas, Mexico. July 17, 2016

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http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/17/la-geografia-oventik-el-calendario-29-de-julio-del-2016/

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EZLN: For La Maestra, With Affection

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For la Maestra, with affection

July 2016

To the maestras [female teachers] of the teachers in resistance:

To the national and international Sixth:

To the attendees and participants of the CompArte all over the world:

Compas, hermanoas,[i] etcéteras:

We send you all [todas, todoas, todos] our greetings and respect. We hope that your health is good and your spirits high.

We are writing to send you a few videos of the contributions that the Zapatista bases of support had prepared for the CompArte. For now we are including two videos dedicated to women below and to the left, and especially to the maestras in struggle. Here goes:

_*_

TO DANCE A THOUGHT”

This first video that we will show you is from the Caracol of La Garrucha. It is a bailable [choreographed dance] entitled “The Rights of Women.” As is the case with almost everything here, it was prepared collectively by men and women, young people trained in the Zapatista autonomous education system. Zapatista bases of support wrote it, practiced it, and prepared to present it at the CompArte. The MC [maestra or master of ceremonies] explains everything. If you end up repeating the chorus, that’s to be expected. But we can tell you one thing: when you are capable of, as the compañera MC says, “singing a thought,” then perhaps you will have to rethink the idea that Art only comes from above, while below what we have are “crafts” [artesanías].

The value of a bailable lies not only in what you will see and hear below, but in its genealogy: the Selva Tzeltal zone, whose Junta de Buen Gobierno [Good Government Council] is located in La Garrucha, was the last [zone] to incorporate women into positions of organizational responsibility. Just as the bailable or choreography demonstrates, it was just a few women at the beginning who started participating (two or three, as we remember). The other compañeras began taking on other positions of responsibility later, yes, but not because the men told them to, or because the mandos [EZLN authorities] gave an order, or because of the “consciousness-raising” that various feminist groups tried to impose on us once we were “famous.” Rather, it was the Zapatista women themselves who explained to each other, convinced each other, and began to take on positions of responsibility.

So there’s the challenge: go figure out how to dance a thought; then we’ll talk.

The video is from April of 2016, and it was produced by “Los Tercios Compas.” CopyleftJunta de Buen Gobierno, etc.

Gender gossip: a delegate from the “Subterranean” section of the Tercios Compas went down, underground where the late SupMarcos is resting poorly, to show him the video. The deceased just made a few pained gestures and declared: “forget about the dance, the problem is the reality.” Then, upon seeing how each compañera who joined the dance cast the men behind her and took position ahead of them, he shook his head in disapproval and, before returning to his non-eternal slumber, said “nobody has any values anymore.”

 

The Dance of the Rights of Women:

_*_

Las Musiqueras”

The following video is not finished. It’s just a clip, less than a minute, because… because… well, because of technical problems. Talking among ourselves, we were remembering the festivals and celebrations from before (meaning, more than 22 years ago), when women only danced. They were never seen playing an instrument. What’s more, we didn’t even imagine it was possible for the women to make music other than church songs. So watch and listen to the history of struggle behind this track of ranchera-corrido-balada-cumbia-norteña. This part isn’t in the video, but when we asked the women in charge to call the band over to make the video, they commented among themselves, “hey, go look for the musiqueras, they’re going to get their picture taken.”

If you manage to dance a thought, perhaps you will discover the genealogy behind those ski masks, the history that embraces the violin as if it were embracing a shield, and which grips the trumpet as if it were what it is: a sword.

The song is by a collective from the community “OSO,” MAREZ [Autonomous Zapatista Municipality in Rebellion] “Lucio Cabañas,” Caracol of the Tzotz Choj zone which includes Tzeltales, Tzotziles, and Tojolabales, and is titled “Our Demands.” The video is from April 2016 and was produced by “Los Tercios Compas.” Copyleft or whatever it’s called.

Musiqueras

_*_

Okay, compas and non-compas. That’s all for now. It possible, maybe probable, who knows, perhaps, that another day we’ll send along more examples of what we prepared for CompArte, with photos and videos. And maybe, we’re not sure, who knows, perhaps, we’ll tell you about an upcoming surprise.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 2016

From the notebook of the Cat-dog:

Conversation captured by the interstellar satellite system “Pozol Systems,” during July of 2016. The coordinates are classified, but of course everybody knows that it was in Chiapas, Mexico, America, Planet Earth on the path of extinction. The audio is defective and it’s impossible to tell who’s talking and whether it’s a man, a woman, unoa otroa, an animal, vegetable, or mineral:

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Los maestros” [the teachers],” “los dirigentes” [the ones in charge], “los líderes” [the leaders], ha. All referring to “los,” [men]. And what about the “las” [women]? They’re out there too. And there aren’t just a few of them. No, I’m not sure of the exact quantity. What, I have to actually count them? Huh? So approximately how many? I mean it’s not a popularity contest, my friend. You all are always concerned with quantities, you always end up counting ‘likes,’ thumbs up, views, followers, subscribers, affiliates, members, marked ballots… you even demand statistics from reality. Yes I know, but your logic of accuracy and correction infuriates me. If it was up to you all, shit would be your candidate and your slogan would be “millions of flies can’t be mistaken.” Huh? Ah true, that’s already the case. But look, the issue isn’t what you count, it’s what you don’t. Let’s say you apply this thing about gender equality to the teacher’s popular movement, well, they wouldn’t be in compliance. There are more women than men. And if that’s how we’re doing things, then why don’t you count loas elloas? They’re there too. Huh? Yes, among the people, not just among the teachers. Go and see for yourselves, because you all say they’re vandals, criminals—you’re almost at the point of calling them “terrorists.” There you are going to see women from the market, the lady who sells tortillas, you know, people from the community. People who break their backs every day, all day, trying to make enough to live poorly. Yes, these are the ones who not only support the teachers, but also demand justice, freedom, democracy, good government. Eh? The Zapatistas? I don’t know really, they are in their caracoles, you can go ask them if you want. I’m telling you about the blockades, which are more like a people’s encampment then a blockade. What? You don’t like the word? Oh yes, of course, your obsession with “populism.” By the way, listen, how ridiculous was that guy who went and got himself a boss among the gringos… oh it was in Canada? Same thing, the geography doesn’t change the result. An idiot anywhere is an idiot everywhere. Oh I see, I can’t say anything against the main guy, the one at the top, the one with the money? Well anyway I was talking about the women. No, not about the teacher’s movement, but about the women. Because you all think they’re only good for… huh? Without being rude? Oooooh, look how sensitive you all turned out to be. Fine then, about the women: some are teachers, yes, others employees, others housewives or “box” wives because don’t tell me you can call those cardboard constructions houses. Some are students, yes. Professionals? Well, I don’t go around asking them for their degrees or their voting registration or anything like that. I just watch, see, hear, listen, learn. Anyway, I was telling you about the maestras. They’re out there. They get beaten, gassed, and chased too. And the things people say to them. It’s not that they’ve told me about it; I’ve seen it myself. And did you see them give up? No. They don’t falter, that is, they aren’t doormats. No, they aren’t manipulated by diabolic forces, nor are they part of a conspiracy. They are, well, normal. Young women, mature women, elderly women. They are all different, but they are alike because they are all from below and they are women. Look, what I notice is the gaze. And it’s clear that these women have their gaze set, as if they were saying no more, this is the line, enough already. Why? I don’t know, but I think it’s because they know now that they are not alone…

I testify.
Woof-Meow

[i] The text uses “hermanoas” for sisters [hermanas] and brothers [hermanos] to give a range of possible gendered pronouns including male, female, transgender and others.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/13/a-la-maestra-con-carino/

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CIDECI-Unitierra:  The CompArte Festival Is On 

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Compañeros of the CIDECI-Unitierra announce that the CompArte Festival is on

San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico

July 8, 2016

To all of the artists participating and attending CompARTE:

To the national and international Sixth:

Brothers and sisters:

We send you fraternal greetings on behalf of all of those who make up CIDECI-Unitierra.

With regard to the celebration of the CompArte Festival convoked by our compañer@s of the EZLN, and convinced also that “the arts are a hope for humanity… [and] that in the most difficult moments, when disillusionment and impotence are at a peak, the Arts are the only thing capable of celebrating humanity” (EZLN Communique, 7/6/2016), we want to inform you that we are continuing preparations to celebrate this sharing-exchange from July 23 through July 30. Our CIDECI-Unitierra community will keep its doors open to receive all of the persons, communities, and collectives that have felt in their hearts this call to come share experiences of art, struggle, and resistance.

As of the initial CompArte convocation, we have been happy to be able to offer our grain of sand to this celebration. You can count on us to put all of our efforts into making you feel as welcome as possible. We await you here.

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Chin up!

CIDECI-Unitierra

P.S. 1. All previously registered participants and attendees can collect their accreditation in CIDECI-Unitierra as of July 18, from 10am to 8pm.

P.S. 2. Anyone not yet registered can register directly at CIDECI-Unitierra, also between 10am and 8pm.

 

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/08/anuncian-los-companeros-de-cideci-unitierra-que-si-se-realizara-el-festival-comparte/

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EZLN: The CompARTE Festival And Solidarity

senal-de-conciencia

July 2016

Compañeroas of the Sixth:

Artists from the five continents:

Teachers in Resistance:

As you know, we have decided to suspend our participation in the CompArte Festival. Of course, for those who know how to read carefully, we didn’t say that the festival itself was suspended. We merely indicated that we as Zapatistas would not be able to contribute. So if someone thought the former and decides not to participate, well then we apologize because we know you already took on expenses. No one should give orders to the Arts. If there is a synonym for freedom, perhaps the last bastion of humanity in the worst situations, it is the arts. We Zapatistas neither can nor should—nor has it even crossed our minds—to tell the workers of art and culture when they should create or not. Or worse, impose a topic on them and, using the originary peoples in rebellion as justification, drag out concepts of “cultural revolutions,” “realisms,” and other arbitrary notions that merely hide what is some kind of cop determining what is “good art” or not.

No, artist sisters and brothers [hermanas, hermanos, hermanoas]; for us Zapatistas, the arts are the hope of humanity, not a militant cell. We think that indeed, in the most difficult moments, when disillusionment and impotence are at a peak, the Arts are the only thing capable of celebrating humanity.

For us Zapatistas, you, along with scientists [l@s científic@s], are so important that we cannot imagine a future without your work.

But that is a subject for a later letter.

The task here is to honour a commitment to you all. As of June 15, 2016, the last day for registration, we had a report prepared to let you know how the CompArte Festival was coming. Unfortunately, the national situation got progressively tenser (thanks to the irresponsibility of that child with a box of matches who works out of the SEP [Department of Public Education]), and we kept postponing it until coming to the decision that we have already told you abougaleano1t.

In any case, it’s good for you to know how the CompArte was coming along. So, to summarize:

There are 1,127 national artists and 318 artists from other countries registered.

The national artists come from:

AguascalientesBaja California

Baja California Sur

Campeche

Chiapas

Chihuahua

Colima

Coahuila

Mexico City (Previously DF)

Durango

Estado de México

Guanajuato

Guerrero

Hidalgo

Jalisco

Michoacán

MorelosNayarit

Nuevo León

Oaxaca

Puebla

Querétaro

Quintana Roo

San Luis Potosí

Sinaloa

Sonora

Tabasco

Tamaulipas

Tlaxcala

Veracruz

Yucatán

Zacatecas

And the artists from other countries come from:

EUROPEGermany

Belgium

Denmark

Scotland

Slovenia

Spanish State

Finland

France

Greece

Netherlands

England

Ireland

Italy

Norway

Portugal

Russia

Switzerland

AMERICA

Argentina

Brazil

Canada

Chile

Colombia

Costa Rica

Cuba

EcuadorEl Salvador

United States

Guatemala

Honduras

Nicaragua

Peru

Puerto Rico

Trinidad and Tobago

Uruguay

Venezuela

ASIA

China

Iran

Japan

Russia

Taiwan

AFRICA

Morocco

Republic of Togo

OCEANIA

Australia

New Zealand

The oldest participating artist is a singer-songwriter who is around 80 years old, although he looks much younger (you’re welcome, Oscar). His songs, which revive popular culture and its musical parodies (surpassed only by reality), are still heard in the Zapatista mountains, and perhaps in some of the places where the teachers resist.

The youngest participating artists are: a 6-year-old boy who dances Son Jarocho with the Altepee collective; the Children’s Choir of Huitepec whose ages range from 3 to 11-years-old; a little girl, 10-years-old, who plays the cajón de tapeo with the Banda Mixanteña of Santa Cecilia: and a little girl, 10-years-old, who plays the piano.

 

ARTISTIC ACTIVITIES TO BE SHARED:

PERFORMANCE ARTS:

FLAMENCOTANGO

CIRCUS

CLOWN

STORYTELLING

DANCE

AERIAL DANCE

CONTEMPORARY DANCE

FOLKLORIC DANCE

POETRY READING

LIMA-LAMA

MAGIC

JUGGLING

PUPPETS

CLOWNING

PERFORMANCE THEATER

SHADOW THEATER

SENSORY THEATER

PUPPETS

VISUAL ARTS:

ALEBRIJES[i]ARCHITECTURE

EMBROIDERY

POLITICAL   CARTOONS

MEXICAN PAPIER-MÂCHÉ

COLLAGE

COMICS

GRAPHIC COMICS

DRAWING

GRAPHIC DESIGN

BOOKBINDING

SCULPTURE

PHOTOGRAPHY

3-D PHOTOGRAPHY

RECORDING

GRAFFITIILLUSTRATION

EPHEMERAL INSTALLATION

SPACE INTERVENTION/ PUBLIC ART

LAUDERÍA[ii]

MASKS

PAINTING

BODY PAINTING

POT PAINTING

MURAL PAINTING

SILK-SCREENING

STENCIL

TATTOOING

AUDIO-VISUALAUDIO STORIES

FILM

DOCUMENTARY

DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY

VIDEODOCUMENTARY VIDEO

VIDEO CLIP

VIDEO SCULPTURE

MUSIC:

WIND BANDSBEAT-BOX

BLUES

BOLERO

BOSSANOVA

PROTEST MUSIC

CHILENAS

CUMBIA

DUB

ETHNOROCK

FUSION

GITANA

HIP-HOP

JAZZ

AFRICAN MUSIC

CONCERT MUSIC

HARP

PIANO

VIOLIN

TUBA

FLUTE

GUITARLUTE

BAGPIPE MUSIC

HANG DRUM MUSIC

HOMPAK MUSIC

ORGAN GRINDER MUSIC

TRADITIONAL MUSIC

PUNK

OPERA

RAP

REGGAE

ROCKABILLI

ALTERNATIVE ROCK

SKA

SON CUBANO

SON JAROCHO

SWING

TROVA

 

 

OTHER ACTIVITIES:

WORKSHOPS (ON ALMOST EVERYTHING THAT WILL BE PERFORMED)

103_4950Should CompArte happen? That question is for all of you. And the answer should include how, where, and the customary etceteras. We think that if you are capable of aweing the world with your work, you can surely organize yourselves to celebrate humanity in the face of the machine.

We Zapatistas have suspended (not cancelled) our participation. We think, we believe, and we hope that there will be cleaner days in which to offer it. We don’t know when, maybe for the birthday party of the National Indigenous Congress, but we don’t want to commit ourselves because what if…

 

The Zapatista CompArte

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But since we’re on the topic, we want to let you know what our artistic contribution was going to be like. Well, better yet, we’ll tell you what Comandante Tacho told us, in so many words: “There is a compa who created his song, he finished the whole thing, that is, the lyrics and the music. And in his community they started a band. In the selection process in the caracol of La Realidad, where we were evaluating contributions from all of the communities to select which ones would go to Oventik, I heard his song, which is about resistance. Just imagine, sup, this compa was just a little thing when we rose up in 1994 and his song explained the resistance better than I could. I didn’t know whether to applaud or take notes. Now we’re really getting somewhere.”

Comandante Zebedeo also told us: “one compa came up to me and said that the situation was pretty bad, that he thought maybe they wouldn’t be able to have the festival because of all the attacks against the teachers. But he was happy because, as he said, “I didn’t know I could sing; now I know I can sing and I can even create my own songs where I talk about how we Zapatistas do things. Even if there isn’t a festival, I’m happy. What’s more, even if it doesn’t happen this time, perhaps we can do it another time.

And if you, artists, compas of the Sixth, are trying to imagine what the Zapatista artistic contributions would be like, well we’re including a video here. Maybe another day we’ll put up more, or maybe photos, because we really struggle with this internet thing. This dance in the video was created by a collective from the Altos zone, in the caracol of Oventik. We don’t know if it’s called dance or choreography, but it is called resistance and the music is a mix of the track by Mc Lokoter “Esta tierra que me vio nacer” [This land birthed me], and a ska track, “El Vals del Obrero” [The Worker’s Waltz] from the Spanish group SKA-P. The MC at the beginning explains the meaning of the dance. The video was produced by “Los Tercios Compas” in one of the selection rounds for who would go to Oventik, a little over two months ago (meaning, we didn’t suspend our participation because we weren’t prepared). Here it is. Aaaaaaaaah jump!

Bailable Resistencia

Well, now that we’ve caught our breath, we want to give you as much detail as possible about the material support that we are taking to the teachers in resistance in various parts of Chiapas, Mexico, as a sign of our solidarity, respect, and admiration.

But first…

Tojolabal, Zoque, Mame, Chol, Tzeltal, Tzotzil, and Mestizo artists from the 5 caracoles were going to participate as listeners on behalf of the Zapatista bases of support.

From the Caracol of Roberto Barrios (Northern zone of Chiapas) 254 artists and 80 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of La Realidad (Selva Fronteriza zone): 221 artists and 179 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of Garrucha (Selva Tzeltal zone): 311 artists and 99 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of Morelia (Tzotz Choj zone): 276 artists and 88 listener-observers.

From the Caracol of Oventik (Highlands zone of Chiapas): 757 artists and 1,120 listener-observers.

Total: 1,819 artists and 1,566 listener-observers. Grand total: 3,385 men, women, children, and elders, Zapatista bases of support.

 

Food as an art of resistance.

The resources set aside for the Zapatista artists varied according to each caracol, because the cost of things can be pricier or cheaper in different places. But the average food expense was $12.08 pesos per Zapatista artist per day. Everything we had put together for our participation, including all five caracoles, amounted to $290,000.00 (two hundred ninety thousand Mexican pesos). Of course, that’s before the next currency devaluation…err, yes, apologies, no more spoilers.

Where did the money come from? From the INE [National Electoral Institute in Mexico]? From the PROSPERA [government aid] program? From organized or disorganized crime—that is, the bad government? From some NGO? From a foreign power interested in promoting the Arts in order to destabilize Mexico’s “tranquillity?” No compas, the money came from the work of the production collectives across the communities, regions, and zones, as well as from the MAREZ [Zapatista Autonomous Municipalities in Rebellion] and the Good Government Councils. That is, it’s clean money, earned the way the immense majority of people of Mexico and the world earn: from work.

Is it a lot or a little?

Well, the average DAILY food consumption of a Zapatista artist, for example, in Roberto Barrios, during the 7 days that our participation would have lasted is:

171 grams of beans

50 grams of rice

21 millilitres of cooking oil

0.02 of a bag of pasta

20 grams of sugar

8 grams of salt

1.17 tostadas

Now, what are they going to do with all that? What are they going to donate to the teachers in resistance?

 

Zapatista Solidarity

The compas organized themselves by caracol in order to deliver the support accordingly:

The caracol of La Realidad will deliver the following to the teachers in resistance:

570 kilos of beans

420 kilos of rice

350 kilos of sugar

15 litres of cooking oil

21 kilos of soap

21 kilos of salt

28 kilos of coffee

1,571 kilos of non-GMO corn

840 kilos of tostadas

400 kilos of pinole

5 vats for cooking

5 ladles

4 medicine boxes

A commission from the caracol of La Realidad will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in Comitán, Chiapas, July 9, 2016, at…well, as soon as they get there.

roberto barrios supplies

The Caracol of Roberto Barrios will deliver:

400 kilos of beans

250 kilos of rice

125 kilos of pasta

24 kilos of salt

24 litres of cooking oil

15 kilos of coffee

10 kilos of soap

3 kilos of chili pepper

10 kilos of onion

30 kilos of tomato

50 kilos of sugar

320 kilos of pinole

620 kilos of tostadas

1,000 kilos of chayote, yams, yucca, and plantains.

A commission from the caracol of Roberto Barrios will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in Playas de Catazajá, Chiapas, July 8, 2016. A commission has already gone there to arrange things with the teachers there for the delivery.

The caracol of Garrucha will deliver:

300 kilos of beans

150 kilos of rice

150 kilos of sugar

20 kilos of coffee

15 kilos of salt

1 box of soap

60,000 tostadas

A commission from the caracol of La Garrucha will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, July 9, 2016.

The caracol of Morelia will deliver:

1,044 kilos of non-GMO corn

500 kilos of beans

300 kilos of rice

250 kilos of sugar

25 kilos of salt

1 box of soap

25 kilos of coffee

1 box of cooking oil

The caracol of Oventik will deliver:

114,584 tostadas (some 300 kilos)

1,475 kilos of beans

672 kilos of sugar

456 bags of pasta (some 97 kilos)

206.5 kilos of rice

68 kilos of coffee

5 kilos of pinole

48.5 kilos salt

12.5 litres of cooking oil

21 kilos of tomato

10 kilos of onion

165 kilos of vegetables

20 kilos of tea

A commission from the caracoles of Morelia and Oventik will deliver all of this to the teachers in resistance in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas, July 10, 2016. We won’t deliver all of the tostadas at once because there are a lot and they would get mouldy. Better a little to start with and then more later.

13592425_1170054193014634_7432388667950057327_n

_*_

So that’s how things are, compas of the Sixth and artists and teachers in resistance.

Now, if you ask us what we think about you coming or not, we say clearly: come. Chiapas is beautiful. And now even more so with the teachers’ resistance flourishing in the streets, roads, highways, and communities.

Are you wondering if, once you’re here, you can take a trip to the caracoles? Yes of course you can. But one thing you can count on, at the entrance of the caracoles they will ask you, “did you already go see the teachers in resistance?

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast,

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

July 2016

[i] Folk art sculptures of fantastical animals, a craft native to Oaxaca.

[ii] Artisanal craft of the construction, repair, and maintenance of stringed instruments.

Dorset Chiapas Solidarity

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EZLN: Lessons From June

214590-492867a4785cbd4d1_pf-1039110508_sclc_04-f-1024x683

June’s Lessons.

July, 2016

Compañeras, compañeros, compañeroas of the Sixth in Mexico and the World:

Artists of the five continents:

Teachers in rebellion:

We send you all [todos, todas, todoas] greetings, from us and the indigenous Zapatista communities. We are writing this letter to tell you about what we have seen and heard this past month of June and to let you know about a decision we Zapatistas have made. Here goes:

Lessons from Above

In just the last few weeks of June, we have been given a true educational seminar.

Once again, the character of the Mexican state has been laid bare: as soon as the capitalists snapped their fingers, regarding what is called the “Law 3 of 3,” the institutional powers scrambled to correct what didn’t please their masters. Not content merely with knowing that they rule, the great lords of money demonstrated, to anyone who wished to see, who really makes the decisions. A handful of masters, in luxury brand suits and ties, came out to the Ángel de la Independencia [i] and, to mock its meaning, gave what amounts to a class in modern politics. “We rule,” they said without speaking, “and we do not like that law. We do not need to sacrifice lives, hold marches, or suffer blows, humiliation, or imprisonment. We don’t even need to show ourselves. If we do so now it is only to remind all of the politicians of their place, both those who are in office and those who aspire to be. And for the lumpen, well, this is just to remind them of the contempt we feel for them.” And then the system’s legal structure (and those who create, implement it, and enforce it) showed its true purpose: within just a few hours, the governmental “institutions” fell over themselves apologizing and trying to ease the anger of the gentlemen of money. Like overseers eager to serve their masters, the governing officials prostrated themselves and manoeuvred to make the law appropriate to the system’s design. “We didn’t even read it,” the legislators murmured as they expressed reverence and made servile apologies to their masters.

But when the teachers in resistance and the communities, movements, organizations, and persons who support them demanded the repeal of the education reform (really just a presidential pre-campaign platform for Aurelio’s aspirations to be a police informant), the government and its masters declared that nothing (meaning, the use of force) was off the table in order to defend “the rule of law.” With a tone more hysterical than historical, they emphasized that the law would not be negotiated. And they made this declaration just a few hours after they bowed before the powers of money… to negotiate modification of a law.

They didn’t bother to insist on the arbitrary imposition of an education reform that they haven’t even read. One careful read would be enough to realize that it has nothing to do with education. It never ceases to be pathetic that the political class and the press that accompany them say that they are defending the institutions of law and justice as they shamelessly demonstrate the contrary.

In June, the lesson from above has been clear and cynical: in Mexico, capital rules and the government obeys.

Lessons from below

For their part, the teachers gathered under the National Coordination of Education Workers (CNTE), as well as the families and communities who support them, have also given classes in the streets, roads, and highways of Mexico below.

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In just a few weeks, they have dismantled all of the staging put up by the political class over multiple years and with a lot of money, to disguise the new war of conquest, going under the name “Pact for Mexico,” which is encapsulated in the so-called “structural reforms.”

The dignified movement of teachers in resistance has also made evident the profound decomposition of the federal, state, and municipal governments. Governmental corruption, inefficiency, and clumsiness can no longer be hidden behind the makeup offered by the servile paid media and social networks, manipulated with the same lack of skill with which they govern.

In an attempt to manipulate the generalized social “bad mood” and try to redirect it toward the democratic teachers’ union, the governments and paid mass media mounted an impressive (and ineffective) campaign of slander and lies: the poor don’t have gasoline, beer, liquor, sweets, lollipops, sliced bread, or the ground-up corncobs they sell as “corn flour.” And it’s all the teachers’ fault. Not because they are resisting, but because they are not large property owners.

Here in Chiapas at least, the supposed shortage of gasoline was nothing but the shameless speculation of that sector’s businessmen who knew that the price would go up on Friday and as of Tuesday were circulating the rumour of scarcity on social media. Curiously, at the gas stations, there was only diesel, the price of which wasn’t supposed to go up. The workers said there was in fact fuel, but “the boss told us to ration it and later to put up signs that there wasn’t any. They also messed with the pumps, so that the litres weren’t really full litres, but less. But that happened before, even when there weren’t blockades.”

Similarly, the scarcity of food and perishable products only occurred in the big supermarkets. The neighbourhood markets continued to offer fruits, vegetables corn, beans, rice, meat, and eggs without any rise in prices. It’s true that products like bottled soft drinks, cigarettes, beer, and liquor began to run out, in addition to what is commonly known as “junk food.”

The “third party interests” which the government is referring to when it talks about who is affected are none other than the interests of the big businesses of commercial capital.

As the governing officials and media and social network that accompany them were shouting their heads off about the teachers’ movement being only in the poorest states whose social backwardness is, of course, the CNTE’s fault, thousands of teachers in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon took the streets, not once but multiple times, of that former lair of national capital, demanding the education reform be repealed.

When the teachers in resistance decided to open the blockades for individual vehicles, public transportation, water trucks, and local traffic but not to big business, the overseers bellowed furiously, threatening and demanding that the commodities that feed big capital be allowed to pass through instead of the “rabble.”

And in the paid media: extensive coverage of the SEDENA airplanes, used to distribute Maseca (not corn), with which José Antonio Meade initiated his pre-campaign to replace Aurelio Nuño as presidential pre-candidate.  At the same time, they buried any news on the Hercules airplanes that transported anti-riot tanks and federal police troops to Chiapas and Oaxaca… and Guerrero… and Michoacán… and Tabasco… and Nuevo León? Oh the rebellious geography of the rebellion!

No. Those above are not interested in children’s education. Hell, they’re not even interested in the supposed education reform. Neither the lame policeman operating out of the Department of Public Education nor any of the legislators who voted for the reform have read it. And when the teachers insist that this or that article is harmful, those above turn nervously to their advisors and bodyguards, not only because they don’t know what those articles say, but because they don’t know what the word “harmful” means. The only thing that matters to them is to get into the line of succession, to see who will get the presidential nomination for the PRI or any of the other parties.

But despite threats, blows, prison, and the outrageous massacre in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca, the teachers resist. But now they are not alone.

While what was expected was that after being threatened, the number of people at the blockades and encampments would diminish, instead what happened was that… more teachers arrived… and people from all of the barrios, neighbourhoods, villages, and communities!

That was how the teachers in rebellion and the people who support them concluded their free public seminar this month of June, giving us the most comprehensive lesson: in Mexico capital rules and the government obeys… but the people rebel.

The most important thing

When we Zapatistas say that we respect a movement, that’s what we mean: we respect it. That means that we don’t meddle in their schedules and ways of doing things, in their organizational structure, in their decisions, strategies, tactics, alliances, and decisions. All of that corresponds to the discernment and decision of those who make up that movement.

Whether they vote or not, ally with political parties or not, dialogue or not, negotiate or not, come to an agreement or not, whether they are believers or atheists, skinny or fat, tall or short, pretty or ugly, mestizo or indigenous, we support them because their struggle is just. And our support, though perhaps small, is unconditional. That is, we don’t expect anything in return.

Unfortunately, because of our essence as the EZLN, most of the time our support can’t go beyond our words, and more than a few times has to be silent. With regard to the teachers in resistance—they have enough accusations and pressures already leveraged against them to add on that they are being “managed” or “infiltrated” by political-military organizations.

So let it be known across the entire political spectrum: everything achieved by the teachers in resistance is and has been their own effort, their decision, and their perseverance. It is the teachers themselves who have explained their struggle, who have spoken in community assemblies, in barrios and neighbourhoods, and who have been able to convince. In contrast to other mobilizations, the teachers turned to look below, to direct their gaze, ear, and word below. It is their resistance that has convoked such a broad range of support. At least that is the case in Chiapas. Instead of slander or conspiracy theories, the government intelligence (ha!) services, as well as the media that feed off of them, should take lessons from the teachers.

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Our economic limitations (product of our rebellious resistance, not of teachers’ blockades), impedes us, at this point, from sending something substantial (for example, corn and not Maseca) to the teachers and the communities that support them, to alleviate the difficult conditions in which they resist all of the wars waged against them.

We also can’t hold large mobilizations because we don’t have institutional economic subsidies, and our every movement, however minimal or symbolic, must be funded by our very limited economy.

Yes, we know. You can chant to us “we don’t see your support.” But we Zapatistas aren’t trying to be seen, or trying to get votes, or affiliations, or trying to get on the list of acronyms that tend to become “fronts” or “broad fronts,” nor are we trying to get paid in one form or another. We also do not demand or expect “reciprocity.”

We Zapatistas only want the teachers to know that we respect them, that we admire them, and that we are attentive and taking notes on the lessons they are giving.

We think resistance should continue. And today, in this geography and calendar, resistance carries the face, the determination, and the dignity of the teachers in rebellion.

To say it more clearly: for us Zapatistas, the most important thing on this calendar and in the very limited geography from which we resist and struggle, is the struggle of the democratic teachers’ union.

The lesson from the originary peoples

Let’s hope that dialogue is held with respect and truth, and not as a simulation that hides preparations for a new wave of repression. Let’s hope that dialogue takes place without the bravado and table pounding so characteristic of he who thinks he rules.

Let’s hope that the governing class, big capital, and the media that accompany and serve them stop playing with matches, lighting them and throwing them onto a prairie it has dried up with its own policies, corruption, and lies.

Let’s hope that those above stop thinking that the storm will put out the fire that they, and no one else, try to stoke. Let’s hope that they manage to see that the storm will end up drowning them too and that then there will be no columnist of the written or electronic press, no hashtag or social network, no television or radio program that can save them.

Let’s hope so, but in our experience, no, that will not happen.

The originary peoples, compañeros and brothers of the National Indigenous Congress have said clearly that we are speaking from within the storm.

“From within the storm,” these were the words chosen by our sisters and brothers in pain, rage, rebellion, and resistance who go under the name National Indigenous Congress (CNI). With just those three words, the CNI gave a lesson on the calendars and geographies ignored by social networks, by the paid and free press, and by the progressive intellectual class. We Zapatistas felt that those words were also ours, and that is why we asked the National Indigenous Congress that we sign jointly.

Because for the originary peoples, threats, lies, slander, beatings, prison, disappearance, and murder have been part of our daily life for years, decades, centuries.

Because what the teachers in resistance are suffering now, the originary peoples, in their barrios, nations, and tribes, have long suffered without anyone—anyone who isn’t part of the Sixth—noticing.

Because for a while now, the originary peoples, from their countrysides, valleys, and mountains, have seen and known what was coming for everyone [todos, todas, todoas]. That includes those who look at us with disdain, or as a target of mockery and charity (same thing), or as a synonym for ignorance and backwardness. That includes those who, short on vocabulary and imagination, reissued the word “indian” as an insult.

To all, todos, todas, todoas, we say: if you didn’t see it before, look now. Upon seeing or hearing about what they are doing to the teachers, think “I’m next.”

Because after the elementary education workers will come the pensioners, those in the health sectors, the bureaucrats, the small- and medium-sized businesses, the transportation workers, the university workers, those working in media, all of the workers of the countryside and city, indigenous and non-indigenous, rural and urban.

Perhaps this will be the conclusion of the families who, without belonging to organizations, parties, or movements, support the teachers. Maybe it is because they know “I’m next” that they lend so much popular support to the teachers. It doesn’t matter how much Aurelio Nuño writhes and gesticulates proclaiming that the teachers in resistance are a threat to those families and their children. Those families support the teachers’ movement. And they will continue to do so, even while the media and the paid machinery of the social networks endeavour, in futility, to echo the poor arguments that badly conceal the repression underway.

It is as if the lesson from below, without a face or an acronym, was: “If what has run out above is time, what has run out here below is fear.”

A difficult decision

This is the time of the teachers in resistance. It is necessary and urgent to be with them.

Over long months and in extremely difficult conditions, the Zapatista bases of support have prepared, practiced, and created artistic expressions that, perhaps, would surprise some [uno, una, unoa] for the CompArte festival.

But we Zapatistas think that supporting the teachers is so important that we have decided…

First: To suspend our participation in the CompArte festival, in the caracol of Oventik as well as in CIDECI in San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, which will be held July 17-30, 2016.

Second: To donate all of the money and food we have saved for our transportation to and from Oventik and CIDECI and for provisions while we are there to the teachers in resistance.

Third: To the 1,127 artists from every corner of Mexico, to the 318 artists from other countries (including originary peoples from the Americas, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Oceania) registered for CompArte, we give our sincere apologies and ask for your understanding. We know that the neither the expense nor the effort you have made are small, in addition to adjusting your schedules in order to be able to come and share your creations with us Zapatistas. We hope that what is now suspended can be later celebrated. We hope that you understand that it is an ethical assessment that has led us to this decision. We analyzed each and every one of our options and arrived at the conclusion, erroneous or not, that this is the way to support the struggle of the teachers and their communities. We are not willing to be strike-breakers or to dispute the limelight the teachers have won with pain and rage.

We respectfully ask that you, in accordance with your ways, times, and abilities, raise your art up with the teachers in resistance, in their activities, encampments, marches, rallies, and wherever the National Coordination of Education Workers and your artistic expressions deem appropriate.

We also ask the compañeroas of the Sixth to create, in line with their calendars, geographies, and abilities, the spaces and conditions for the Arts and their irreverent challenge to imagine other worlds, in order to celebrate humanity, its pains, its joys, and its struggles. Because that and only that is the objective of Comparte.

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We Zapatistas will be in our places, attentive to what happens, to what is said and what is not said. We will continue to look with hope and respect at each and every resistance that arises in the face of the predatory machine.

For now we will put away our musical instruments, our paintings, our theatre and cinematic scripts, our clothes for dancing, our poetry, our riddles (yes, there was a section for riddles), our sculptures and everything that, thinking of you all, we prepared to share.

We will put this all away for now, but, as Zapatistas, we won’t rest.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moises

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, July 2016

 

From the notebook of the Cat-Dog:

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What a way to irritate and polarize a whole country! Who advises them? The same people who told them they would win in the state elections, that Brexit wouldn’t happen and that, once the vote was in, the impact would be minor, that the machine works so well it practically purrs? Or the businessmen hidden behind the “Mexicanos Primero[ii] campaign? Well, if these are the minds that made the education reform, there you have an example of their great capacity for “analysis.” Did they tell them that Oaxaca was a kind of cheese? That Chiapas is the name of the ranch belonging to the Velascos, the Sabines, the Albores? That Guerrero’s border is the Sol highway and the hotel zones? That what must be protected in Michoacán is the Monarch butterfly? That nothing is happening in Nuevo Leon? That Tabasco is an Eden? That the health workers are going to be quiet and put up with anything? That the entire Nation is going to limit itself to venting via clever hashtags? Well, it turns out that they are getting lessons on national geography: Oaxaca’s last name is “indomitable”; Chiapas is the cradle of the EZLN, where the twenty-first century came early, where the end of the world was announced (the end of their world), and where culture, science, and art shout out what the media silences; Guerrero (and the entire country) are named Ayotzinapa; in Michoacán there is a place called Cherán and another called Ostula, and in all of the cardinal points there is a below that doesn’t give up, that doesn’t give in, and that doesn’t sell out. If the education reform isn’t modified, they should at least modify their advisors. Ah, and tell them at “Mexicanos Primero” that reality already evaluated them: they flunked.

I testify

Grrr, meow.

[i] The “Angel of Independence,” a landmark statue on the thoroughfare Paseo de la Reforma in Mexico City, built in 1910 to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico’s War of Independence.

[ii] “Mexicanos Primero” is a corporate education reform lobby that backed the education reform mandating a standardized system of test-based hiring and teacher evaluation, among other things.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/07/04/las-lecciones-en-junio/

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EZLN: The Hour Of The Police 4

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The Hour of the Police 4

From the Cat-Dog’s spoiler notebook

June 2016

Here’s the doubt: what would be the most appropriate comparison for that sad and mediocre overseer who aspires to be a policeman?

Aurelio Donald Nuño Trump?

Aurelio Ramsay Nuño Bolton?

We think that given his thirst for blood and his cowardice, the latter fits him best.

And, just like in the television series “Game of Thrones,” where Ramsay Bolton is devoured by the dogs that he before used to attack others, the paid media that have used Nuño to slander, threaten, and attack the teachers in resistance and the communities and organizations in solidarity, will feed on him when he falls.

It could very well be said to him tomorrow:

“Your words will disappear.

Your house will disappear

Your name will disappear

All memory of you will disappear.”

To him and the entire system he serves.

Time will tell.

Woof-meow.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/06/23/la-hora-del-policia-4-del-cuaderno-de-spoilers-del-gato-perro/
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CNI-EZLN: From Within The Storm

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FROM WITHIN THE STORM.

Joint Communique from the National Indigenous Congress and the EZLN on the cowardly police attack against the National Coordinating Committee of Education Workers and the indigenous community of Nochixtlán, Oaxaca.

June 20, 2016

To the People of Mexico:

To the peoples of the World:

Faced with the cowardly repressive attack suffered by the teachers and the community in Nochixtlán, Oaxaca—in which the Mexican state reminds us that this is a war on all—the peoples, nations, and tribes who make up the National Indigenous Congress and the Zapatista Army for National Liberation say to the dignified teachers that they are not alone, that we know that reason and truth are on their side, that the collective dignity from which they speak their resistance is unbreakable, and that this the principal weapon of those of us below.

We condemn the escalation of repression with which the neoliberal capitalist reform, supposedly about “education,” is being imposed across the entire country and principally in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero, and Michoacán. With threats, persecutions, beatings, unjust imprisonments and now murders they try to break the dignity of the teachers in rebellion.

We call on our peoples and on civil society in general to be with the teachers who resist at all times, to recognize ourselves in them. The violence used to dispossess them of their basic work benefits with the goal of privatizing education is a reflection of the violence with which the originary peoples and rural and urban peoples are dispossessed.

Those who delight in power decided that education, health, indigenous and campesino territories, and even peace and security are a commodity for whoever can pay for them, that rights are not rights but rather products and services to be snatched away, and they dispossess, destroy, and negotiate according to what big capital dictates. And they intend to impose this aberration through bloody means, murdering and disappearing our compañer@s, sending our spokespeople to high security prisons, making shameless torture into government marketing, and with the help of the paid press, criminalizing the bravest part of Mexican society, that is, those who struggle, who do not give in, who do not sell out, and who do not give up.

We demand a halt to the repression against the teachers in struggle and the immediate and unconditional liberation of ALL political prisoners.

We invite all of the peoples of the countryside and cities to be attentive and in solidarity with the teachers’ struggle, to organize autonomously in order to remain informed and alert in the face of the storm that is upon all of us, knowing that a storm, in addition to its turmoil and chaos, also makes the ground fertile where a new world is always born.

From the mountains, countryside, valleys, canyons, and barrios of the originary peoples, nations, and tribes of Mexico.

Never Again a Mexico Without Us!

National Indigenous Congress.

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

Mexico, June 20, 2016

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EZLN: Notes On The War Against The Teachers

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Notes on the War against the Teachers in Resistance

(The Hour of the Police 3)

June 2016

From the notebook of the cat-dog:

—We don’t know about the rest of the country, but in Chiapas those above are losing the media war.

We have seen entire families support the teachers, in the rural areas as well as the urban. And we aren’t talking about support of the “we see your raised fists” type, or that of “the people united will never be defeated” and other slogans that continue to be the same despite distances in calendar and geography because below solidarity continues to be a basic principle. But if in previous mobilizations among the rebellious teachers, the “citizens” (a term that hides inequality) were bothered and fed up, now things have changed.

There are more and more families helping the teachers, donating support for their trips and marches, becoming anxious when they are attacked, offering food, drink, and refuge. They are families who, according to the taxonomy of the electoral left, have been “dumbed down” by television, or are “sandwich-gobblers,”[i] “deranged,” “sheep,” “people without conscience.” But it seems that the outsized media campaign against the teachers in resistance has failed.

The resistance movement against the education reform has become a mirror for more and more people-people (meaning, not social and political organizations, but ordinary people). It is as if the resistance has awoken a collective sense of urgency in the face of the coming tragedy. It is as if every swing of a police baton, every canister of tear gas, every rubber bullet, and every arrest warrant were eloquent slogans: “today I attack her, him; tomorrow I’m coming for you.” Perhaps that is why, behind every teacher there are entire families that sympathize with their cause and their struggle.

Why? Why does a movement that has been fiercely attacked on all sides continue to grow? If they are “vandals,” “slackers,” “terrorists,” “corrupt,” and “opposed to progress,” then why do so many people below, no small number in the middle, and even a few above salute the teachers, even if sometimes in silence, for defending what anyone would defend?

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—“Reality is a lie.” That could have been the headline of the article published in the badly named Chiapan newspaper “Cuarto Poder” [Fourth Estate] (a press outlet nostalgic for the era of the haciendas and the gentlemen carrying pitchforks and knives) when it “denounced” that the street party celebrated in support of the teachers in resistance on June 9 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez, capital of the southeastern Mexican state of Chiapas, was a sham. Parachicos,[ii] dancers, musicians, [the use of] traditional dress, people in wheelchairs, marimbas, drums,  whistles and flutes, the best of Zoque art, and thousands of people paid respect to the teachers’ resistance. The so-called “success” of the media war against the CNTE [National Coordinating Committee for Education Workers] can be summed up in a poster that read: “Thank you teacher, for teaching me how to struggle.” Another said, “I’m not a teacher, but I am Chiapan and I’m against the education reform.”

But what bothered the executives at “Cuarto Poder” was the one that said, in so many words, “If you made the güero Velasco[iii]governor of the desert, in a few months sand would be scarce.”

—After more than three years of promoting the supposed “education reform,” Mr. Nuño[iv] still cannot present any argument even minimally related to education in favor of what is really his “payroll adjustment program.” His arguments have been, up to this point, the same as any overseer during the era of Porfirio Diaz: hysterical screaming, blows, threats, firings, and imprisonments—the same things employed by any sad and mediocre candidate that aspires to play the role of postmodern police.

—They have beat them, gassed them, imprisoned them, threatened them, fired them unjustly, slandered them, and declared a de facto state of siege in Mexico City. What’s next? Will they disappear them? Will they murder them? Seriously? The “education” reform will be born upon the blood and cadavers of the teachers? Are they going to replace the teachers’ encampments with police and military encampments? Are they going to substitute the protest blockades with those of tanks and bayonets?

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—Lessons for Nuño on terrorism: the taking of hostages (which is what the detention of members of the CNTE leadership is), for whatever kind of terrorism (by the state as well as by its fundamentalist mirrors) is a mechanism to force dialogue and negotiation. We don’t know if there above they realize it, but it turns out that the other side (the teachers) is the one seeking dialogue and negotiation. Or did the SEP (Department of Education) affiliate with ISIS and start taking hostages just to sow terror?

—There is an anecdote that circulated among the government intelligence services of the great powers. It is said that in order to win the media battle during the Vietnam War, the North American intelligence services created—that is the word specifically—scenes of resounding victories, of the growing weakness of the enemy, of the moral and material strength of the US troops. As it turns out, the strategy called “winning hearts and minds,” initially destined to be waged in Vietnam, instead had to be waged in the streets of the big cities of the United States. After that April of 1975—which echoed back to another defeat at Playa Girón [Bay of Pigs] in dignified Cuba the same month, but in 1961—a North American official said: “the problem is that we fabricate so many lies for the media that we end up believing them ourselves. We created a staging for victory that hid our defeat. Our own stridency kept us from hearing the noise of our own collapse. It’s not bad to lie; the bad thing is to believe one’s own lies.” Anyway, clearly we Zapatistas don’t know much about the media, but in our humble opinion, it’s bad business to head up a press campaign for a shameless privatization with a sad, mediocre overseer who wants to be a policeman.

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—What the teachers [maestros, maestras, maestroas] do is start children off in the first steps of science and art.

I testify.

Meow-Woof.

[i] A derogatory term referencing those who accept gifts or handouts—often a sandwich at a rally—from the political parties in return for support.

[ii] Traditional dancers from Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas.

[iii] Manuel Velasco Coello is the governor of Chiapas, nicknamed el güero Velasco for his whiteness.

[iv] Aurelio Nuño Mayer is Secretary of the Department of Education.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/06/17/17193/

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EZLN: May, Between Authoritarianism And Resistance

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The calendar? May 2016

The geography?

Well, it could be any part of this country, scratched open and bleeding with forced disappearances, impunity made institution, intolerance as a form of government, corruption as the modus vivendi of a fetid and mediocre political class.

But it could also be any part of this country healed by the persistence of the families who do not forget their missing, their tenacious search for truth and justice, their rebellious resistance in the face of blows, bullets, and clubs, and their eagerness to construct a path without masters, bosses, saviours, guides, or caudillos; through defence, resistance, rebellion; through the strength of pain and rage making the crack deeper and wider.

“Mexico” as this country is commonly called, reflects in its own way the crisis that is shaking the entire world.

It seems that at some moment in the brief and intense history of the 20th century, this country was an international referent for tourism. One heard about its landscapes, its gastronomy, the hospitality of its people, the perfection of the perfect dictatorship.

But both before and during this travel agency pamphlet image, what happened happened. No, I won’t ply you with information on what has happened in the immediate past, say the last 30 years.

The thing is that over the past few years, “Mexico” has become a world referent for governmental corruption; for the cruelty of narco-trafficking; the full complicity and cohabitation, not merely infiltration, of organized crime and the official institutions; the forced disappearances; the army out of the barracks and into the streets and onto the highways; the murders and imprisonments of opposition figures, journalists, and others; the “warning” signs on the paths of tourists; the cynicism as idiosyncrasy in the media and social networks; and life, freedom, and personal possessions gambled in the deadly roulette of daily life (“if they didn’t come for you today, maybe tomorrow”). If you are a woman, of whatever age, multiply the risks. The feminine, along with any difference, is ahead only in this respect: more likely to suffer violence, disappearance, death.

But you already know all of this. It is enough to have lived here, in these lands and under these skies, a little, not much, let’s say from just a few months old to less than five years old, which was the age of the little girls and boys murdered in the ABC Daycare in Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico, June 5, 2009, almost seven years ago.

What crime did those children commit? Were they victims of bad luck, of a dark divine design, of chance? Or were they victims of a political class that allows itself anything (such as the fact that one of those implicated—and not investigated—in this crime is a pre-candidate for the Mexican presidency for the National Action Party)?

So the place could be Sonora, where nevertheless, neither the crime nor the shamelessness of those responsible were able to defeat the families of the toddlers of the ABC Daycare.

Or the place could be Mexico State, where the Ñatho community of San Francisco Xochicuautla is at risk of being destroyed and buried by one of big capital’s highways. Their crime? Defending the forests. But, on the ruins of their homes, the community members maintain their resistance.

Or the place could be Oaxaca, in the Binizza community of Álvaro Obregón, in Juchitán, where the population was shot at by paramilitaries of the National Action Party and the Party of the Democratic Revolution. What is their offense? Opposing the privatization of the wind, imposed by big capital in the Isthmus as “wind farms.”

Or it could be Veracruz, already a territorial hunting ground targeting women, young people, and journalists, whether or not they are oppositional. Or the Yucatán, where the government has implemented the so-called “Escudo” [shield] against the population of Chablekal as a way to protect its own acts of displacement. Or Guerrero, where all of Mexico is renamed “Ayotzinapa.” Or Morelos, converted into a gigantic clandestine cemetery. Or Mexico City where opposition protests are prohibited because there the automobiles rule, including over the Constitution. Or Puebla, bastion of water and highway privatization. Or Tamaulipas, where, like everywhere in the country, the PRI is the institutional arm of organized crime. Or anywhere in this republic called “United Mexican States” with its waves of firings, displacements, theft, disappearances, destruction, death…war.

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But it turns out that it is Chiapas. And in Chiapas, we see…

Tuxtla Gutiérrez, the capital city. May, 2016. Average temperature: 37 degrees [Celsius] in the shade. Altitude: 522 meters above sea level. Date: May of the teachers in resistance and rebellion. But before we go further, allow me a few corrections:

  1. The poorly named “education reform” is not about education but rather about labor. If it were about education it would have taken into consideration the perspective of teachers and families. When the government refuses to dialogue about the reform with teachers and families, it is acknowledging that this is not about improving education, but about “payroll adjustment” (which is how capital refers to firings).
  2. The law isn’t being applied, it is being violated. Those who say they are defending the constitution (through the educational reform) are violating the constitution (the laws that guarantee basic rights such as gathering, petition, and free movement).
  3. What the paid mass media are doing is useless. They declare back and forth: “everything running normally,” “the majority of schools are still functioning,” “over 90 percent of teachers are working.” But there is no referent in reality for these declarations, because the teachers are in the streets. In the villages the families already said clearly that they will not accept substitute teachers, that they won’t let them in or will run them off.
  4. The teachers aren’t defending their privileges, they are fighting in the last trench any human being has: for the minimal life conditions for them and their families. Are you surprised that someone is willing to defend the little they have left? A despicable salary, a few classrooms that look like they have been bombed (and they have been, but by economic bombs), not one but multiple work shifts, excessively large classes? In sum: little pay, bad working conditions, and a shitload of work. Sound familiar? And yet, the teachers show up at their schools and teach the little boys and girls the ways of the arts and sciences.
  5. The objective of the supposed education reform is to destroy those teachers who prepared for years and dedicated practically their whole lives to this profession. Of course, due to the perseverance of the media, which gets bonuses for their trouble, the teachers’ movement has been given the image of corrupt leaders. But this image is just a decoy, an attempt to get people to take the bait. The objective [of the reform] is not the leaders, but all of the teachers, including the servile National Education Workers Union [SNTE]. Now, if you want a model of corrupt leaders, you have the leadership of the SNTE.
  6. Yes, the objective of the education reform is to privatize education. In fact, this privatization is already in process. The attempt to abandon and defund the schools didn’t finish off public education in Mexico for one reason: the teachers. So now the teachers must be destroyed. They [the government] are trying to provoke a catastrophe in the education system such that families turn to private schools, working double shifts to pay for tuition, or resort to raising their daughters and sons on television, radio, and digital media, or in the street, or not even that. The teaching profession is not improvisational, nor is it a question of intuition. It requires study, preparation. Not just anyone has the capacity and the knowledge to educate. Because in school students are educated, not just taught. Not just anyone can successfully take on a group of school-age or preschool-age children. That is why the Escuelas Normales [Teachers’ Colleges] are necessary.
  7. Have you been told that what’s going on is that the teachers are lazy and don’t want to study? That’s a lie, any teacher wants to be better, better prepared and better trained. Do yourself what the government hasn’t done: talk to a teacher. Even better, listen to them. You will see that when they talk about their situation, it will seem like they are describing yours.

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We Zapatistas try to understand. And in order to understand one has to listen. Whenever we can, we rely on direct information. In this case, we sent a group of “Los Tercios Compas” (Zapatista media that isn’t paid, or autonomous, or free, or alternative, but they are compas) and we listened to the Zapatista bases of support that are part of the teaching profession. We took the following from one of these listeners:

“Compañero Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, I greet you and hope that you are in good health and doing the work of the struggle.

Having given this brief greeting, I offer my report: Well, we saw the teachers’ march. It wasn’t just male teachers, there were also many female teachers. The damned police attacked them and also attacked the people nearby. They even beat children. Later we saw a sign, well a sign painted on a wall, that said: “The police: such badasses against the people, such pussies against the narco.” We saw that the teachers were happy in the march. As if they didn’t care that they were being beaten and pursued and sprayed with that gas that doesn’t let you breath. The teachers [male and female] just kept going, along with some of the mothers and fathers of the children that go to the schools and whose families support the teachers. It was clear that no one had forced them to go, but rather that they had come because they wanted to. They were excited. And the people in the houses along the street were shouting their support to the teachers. And in the streets people gave them water and fruit. You can tell that the people love those teachers who are in struggle. So then the teachers would shout the chant, “we see your support” and well, I thought there’s probably support that isn’t seen also, but there’s no chant for that.

Later we went to see the damned police who were following the teachers in order to harass them. We saw the police looking very defeated. There were just a few who were enthusiastic and who were beating their batons on their plastic shields, supposedly to frighten people, but it’s not frightening. The majority of the police could barely walk, I think because of the heat. The sun is strong in Tuxtla. And the teachers, well you can tell they’re used to it because they were happy. They sang songs and yelled chants. They sang that one called “We shall overcome” and I even started to sing too, but then I remembered that I was there in the role of “Tercio compa” and so better not. Every time the police paused for a moment they would all run for the shade. Their commander would scold them because they didn’t stay in formation. We heard one police officer telling another about how he pursued a little girl and a teacher, and that the teacher ran faster than the child. And that damned officer laughed like it was a joke to pursue a little girl. And when they got the order to advance, the police went dragging their shields behind them. Some were wearing metal boots. Others carried clubs. As they went by, the people in the street would say things to them, telling them to leave and not to bother the teachers anymore. Some people straight up cussed them out. The police looked at them with anger in their eyes but they didn’t stop. And these are families that are yelling. In some houses and buildings there were signs, like homemade posters expressing support for the teachers. On the radio stations people called in to comment, but not like other times when they complained that the teachers were blocking roads. Now they were complaining about the federal police, that they are just creating trouble, that it looks like we’re at war, that not even during the Zapatista uprising were there so many police in the streets of Tuxtla. No one was thanking the government; they were all saying clearly that this is all the fault of the government. And the radio stations would cut the people off, you can tell they didn’t like what the people were saying. And the newspapers have no shame, they publish stuff that doesn’t have anything to do with anything. The journalists are worried because in Chenalhó some partidistas [political party-affiliated people] kidnapped some other partidistas. But the teachers do politics, they explain their struggle and the people hear them and understand them. We heard what the people say. They don’t listen to or understand the governments. They call Velasco “the kid” and complain about how “the kid” is only good for getting his picture taken and going out for a stroll. And the rumors say that he’s not even in charge anymore, that there is fighting to see who will take the governorship. They say that “whoever gets it is a shameless thief.” They don’t respect the government.

They respect and love the teachers, they give them water and fruit, they applaud them. Even the cars, when they drive by the march, honk and wave. But the police only get insults. We heard one teacher explain their struggle: “This is now about putting food on the table for our children.” In one place close to Tuxtla, called Chiapa de Corzo, the people organized themselves and ran the federal police out of there. They weren’t teachers, they were families. The police hit them and threw gas at them, but the people didn’t give up and they ran off the federal police. Once we had seen all of this, we came back to give our report.

What we think is that who knows what will happen, but the governments already lost.

That’s all I have to say.

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Now, questions for the exam on the federal government:

If a government isn’t willing to dialogue and negotiate with the opposition, what path does it leave the opposition? If the government only employs argument via the use of force, what does it expect as a counter argument?

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Mexico, May 2016

From the notebook of the cat-dog:

The Hour of the Police 2.

That vendor of deodorant for metrosexuals, the postmodern version of Gordolfo Gelatino, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, should stop his campaign for the presidency and recognize that the reform he purports to defend is neither a reform nor is it about education. It’s merely a shameless personnel switch. A boss badly dressed in institutional clothing uses a perfumed foreman to get rid of jobs.

To be an idiot foreman that longs to be a good policeman, follow these instructions: write 100 times, “public education in Mexico is a business and that’s how it must be managed.” Ah, and don’t study history. Forget that the National Coordination of Education Workers was born in 1979, in Chiapas, Mexico. And it was born as a response to government brutality.

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The battles that the teachers and the families wage do not end with May. They are just the beginning of many months and struggles that will come, and not only for the teachers. In the geographies and calendars below, history doesn’t happen, it is made.

I testify.

Woof-Meow.

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/05/30/mayo-entre-el-autoritarismo-y-la-resistencia/
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Joint CNI-EZLN Communique On Aggression Against Community Of Álvaro Obregón, Oaxaca

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MAY 18, 2016

JOINT COMMUNIQUE BY THE CNI AND EZLN ON AGGRESSION AGAINST THE COMMUNITY OF ÁLVARO OBREGÓN, OAXACA

NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

To the media

To the solidarity organizations

To the Human Rights organizations

To the dignified Binizza community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca

Sisters and Brothers

Our peoples, tribes, communities, organizations, and neighbourhoods see with rage and indignation how the bad government boasts its total lack of shame, through its political parties of every colour, as it continues to attack our peoples and its political parties continue trying to divide our communities. Our voice will not tire of denouncing and shouting, Enough!

On May 14, brutally and shamelessly, the police and bodyguards of the PAN-PRD candidate Gloria Sánchez López dared to aim their murderous weapons at the dignified community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, injuring the six compañeros who were in an assembly, defending their physical and political territory from deadly wind energy projects, whose “clean” energy is filthy with blood, corruption, and death. The candidates from all of the political parties—who even though they are only candidates feel they can already benefit from the impunity they are granted for belonging to the band of criminals badly governing the state of Oaxaca and the country—believe that with bullets they will manage to change the conscience and kill the dignity of the Binizza people.

National politics makes it increasingly clear that the political class has no shame. They believe that they can attack, threaten and intimidate the dignified struggle of the people. With aggressions and violence they try to sow fear in the dignified hearts that defend the land, the water, and the wind. From the four cardinal directions of our indigenous territories we say to them: you cannot! You cannot stop the rage in our hearts from turning into solidarity; you cannot strip us of the dignity of struggling to defend our territories and the life of our peoples; you cannot intimidate the dignified struggle of the Binizza people, who have honored the National Indigenous Congress by being a member for many years now.

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Therefore, brothers and sisters of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca, from the four directions of our territories we say to you, you are not alone! You are not alone! We declare ourselves against the acts that the bad government of Mexico and Oaxaca, through their henchman Saúl Vicente Vázquez, municipal president of Juchitán, carry out against the rights to self-determination and autonomy of the people of Álvaro Obregón.

We denounce that the cowardly aggressions made with firearms on May 14 and the ongoing threats. These are an attempt to intimidate the community of Álvaro Obregón, which opposes the installation of wind energy projects in their territory. The politicians get angry when they cannot make their profits by installing these projects of death and who believe that by intimidating the people they will be able to. They are mistaken!

Because of all of this we declare that:

We hold the government of Gabino Cue and Saúl Vicente Vázquez responsible for the aggressions that have occurred and continue to occur against the assembly of the community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitan, Oaxaca.

We demand the investigation and punishment of those responsible for the shots fired by the municipal police of Juchitán and the bodyguards of Gloria Sánchez López.

[We demand] the cancellation of the wind energy projects that they are trying to impose on the territory of the Álvaro Obregón community.

We demand that Gloria Sánchez López and all of the candidates stop trying to impose their party system on the community of Álvaro Obregón.

We demand that they respect the legitimate rights of the Binizza people to elect their own authorities in an autonomous manner.

To the community of Álvaro Obregón, Juchitán, Oaxaca, we say, you are not alone; as the CNI we will be vigilant to make sure these events do not happen again and we will make our voice heard from every corner of our blood-soaked country.

For the full reconstitution of our peoples!

Never again a Mexico without us!

National Indigenous Congress

Zapatista Army for National Liberation

cni

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CNI And EZLN On Repression Against Community Of Chablekal

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4th MAY, 2016

JOINT COMMUNIQUE BY THE CNI AND EZLN ON REPRESSION AGAINST THE COMMUNITY OF CHAPLEKAL

To the media

To the Human Rights organizations

To the Union of Inhabitants of Chablekal

To the people of Mexico

Sisters and Brothers

We, the peoples, communities, tribes, neighbourhoods, organizations, and collectives who make up the National Indigenous Congress (CNI) denounce and condemn the events today in the community of Chablekal, Yucatán, where the police attempted to evict an elder of the community from his home. Upon learning of the unjust eviction, the inhabitants decided to protest to try to stop the action, to which state antiriot police responded with tear gas. Women, children, and elderly persons were present; as of now more than 40 canisters of tear gas have been found in the community.

Jorge Fernández Mendiburu and Martha Capetillo Pasos, in their role as human rights defenders and members of the Human Rights Centre Indignación A.Cand the National Indigenous Congress, were arbitrarily detained, beaten, and handcuffed in an aggressive manner and against all due process. Although they were released shortly after, this constitutes an act of intimidation and criminalization of human rights observation and social protest.

In addition, we denounce this act as an attempt to intimidate not only the Human Rights defenders but also the inhabitants of the community of Chablekal, who organized the Union of Inhabitants of Chablekal in Defence of land, territory, and natural resources to defend what remains of their territory from the theft and displacement they have suffered over the last few years on behalf of speculators—new landowners who have the support of the municipal, state, and federal agrarian and political authorities. Their demand to halt the indiscriminate selling off of lands has been answered with this and other attempts at intimidation of their members and those who accompany them and defend their rights.

This abuse of authority and its associated crimes take place in the context of the imposition of the “Yucatán Shield” strategy. This strategy, carried out through large economic loans with unclear ends, is meant to render citizens defenceless against police actions. The Indignación A.C. team has presented a document denouncing this aspect and other irregularities in this strategy. This treatment of groups critical of police action is one of the digressions of this plan, which should be more closely analyzed before its implementation.

With regard to the above, WE DEMAND

–INVESTIGATION OF AND PUNISHMENT FOR THE POLICE OFFICERS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ARBITRARY AND ILLEGAL DETENTION OF THE MEMBERS OF THE INDIGNACION A.C. TEAM

–THE IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF THE FOUR MEMBERS OF THE CHABLEKAL COMMUNITY STILL DETAINED

*Pedro Euan Flores

*Alfonso Tec

*Pedro Euan Santana—member of the MPDT of Chablekal and of the CNI

*A 15 year old

–INVESTIGATION OF THE AGGRESSION COMMITED AGAINST THE INHABITANTS OF THE COMMUNITY OF CHABLEKAL

–SAFETY GUARANTEES FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDERS

–A HALT TO ACTS OF INTIMIDATION AGAINST THE UNION OF INHABITANTS OF THE COMMUNITY OF CHABLEKAL IN DEFENSE OF LAND, TERRITORY, AND NATURAL RESOURCES.

–THAT THE NECESSITY FOR AND DETAILS OF ANY SECURITY ACTION, INCLUDING THE “YUCATAN SHIELD,” THAT MAY VIOLATE HUMAN RIGHTS BE FIRST DISCUSSED WITH COMMUNITIES AND CITIZENS

Sisters and brothers of Chablekal,

http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/05/04/comunicado-conjunto-del-cni-y-el-ezln-sobre-la-represion-en-la-comunidad-chablekal/

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EZLN And CNI: Declaration Of Maximum Alert For Xochicuautla And Ostula

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April 13, 2016

TO THE PEOPLES OF THE WORLD

TO THE ALTERNATIVE MEDIA

Faced with the cowardly betrayal of the Natho indigenous community of San Francisco Xochicuautla, municipality of Lerma in the State of Mexico, in order to impose the project of the highway from Toluca to Naucalpan, and the attack suffered by Community police of Ostula, municipality of Aquila, Michoacan, we, the Indigenous National Congress declare ourselves on maximum alert and call on the people, organizations and those in solidarity to be vigilant and respond to the call made by the community of Xochicuautla.

We denounce that:

On Monday April 11, at around 9 in the morning, more than 1,000 state police of the State Commission of Public Safety (CES) and the Forces of Action and Reaction (FAR), began arriving, entering the community on 3 sides, the colonia Buenavista, down Cuauhtemoc street to get to the place known as “Lampeni,” and in the place called “Lapondishi” where the Camp of Peace and Dignified Resistance was situated, which was destroyed by the police.

In the place “Lampeni,” Comrade Armando Garcia Salazar, uncle of David Ruiz García, delegate of the Indian National Congress who attended the sharing between the CNI and the EZLN in August 2014, held in the Zapatista La Realidad, had his house and the heritage of their children. Inside the house about 25 people were gathered to defend the property, mostly women, they were very violently evicted, pushing and pulling the compañera Isabel Hernandez, aged 64, who is part of the Indian Supreme Council and at that time was holding a female child in her arms.

Accompanied by police, a letter was handed to compañero Armando informing him that his house was on federal property and had to be destroyed; they also showed him the decree of expropriation against which they had won an injunction.

Without further words, those inside the house were pushed out, also throwing out the possessions that were on the first floor, leaving inside documents, clothing and tools.

Once again the bad government demonstrates that the laws it claims to represent and the supposed rule of law are nothing more than tools for dispossession which are used as long as and only when they are against the people. Dispossession and repression violate the suspension granted in injunctions (amparo) 1123/2015 and 771/2015 that were granted on February 18, 2016 and notified by the court to most authorities on 23 February, including SAASCAEM, which is the institution to which the territory of Xochicuautla was granted in the decree of expropriation.

Meanwhile, on the night of Sunday 10th April, compañeros members of the community police of Santa Maria Ostula were attacked, near the town of San Juan de Alima, Michoacan, when, from a moving car, comunero Francisco Grajeda was killed and comunero Abraham Giron was wounded, he is also commissioner of the community to the Indigenous National Congress and a participant in the sharing held in the Zapatista La Realidad.

We denounce the attempt of the bad government to minimize this crime with which it seeks to encourage the return of violence to the region of the coastal sierra of Michoacan, and to put the territory, natural resources, dignity and peace of the region back into the hands of the narcopoliticians, their paramilitaries, hitmen and businesses.

We call on the people of Mexico and the world to show solidarity urgently with the actions in defence of the rights of San Francisco Xochicuautla, by physically being present in the community, and mobilising wherever they are to denounce and demand the cessation of attacks against community, its territory and peoples.

We hold Eruviel Ávila and his boss Enrique Peña Nieto responsible for the integrity of our colleagues and of all those who give solidarity to the dignified struggle.

FOR THE INTEGRAL REVINDICATION OF OUR PEOPLES

NEVER AGAIN A MEXICO WITHOUT US

12th  APRIL 2016

INDIGENOUS NATIONAL CONGRESS

ZAPATISTA ARMY OF NATIONAL LIBERATION

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http://enlacezapatista.ezln.org.mx/2016/04/13/declaracion-de-alerta-maxima-del-cni-ante-la-cobarde-traicion-a-la-comunidad-indigena-natho-de-san-francisco-xochicuautla/

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Progress On The Encounter “The Zapatistas And The ConSciences For Humanity”

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

March 16, 2016

Compas and non-compas:

Now we are going to let you know how plans are going for the Encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity”:

As of March 14, we have received 50 applications for the event.

There are applications from Norway, Brazil, Chile, France, the USA, Japan, and Mexico.

Scientific disciplines: So far invitations are being considered for scientists of Astronomy, Biology, Physics, Mathematics, Chemistry, Medicine, Genetics, Paediatric Pathology and Nephrology, and Microbiology. We will continue to keep you informed of further developments with the invitations.

The scientists invited to the encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity” can offer a critical reflection on their scientific theory or practice, or an explanation of the general elements of their specialty given in an accessible manner (that is, an educational talk).

The email address where you can register to attend the encounter “The Zapatistas and the ConSciences for Humanity” is: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx.

Date and location for the ConSciences Encounter: December 25, 2016 to January 4 2017, with an ‘intermission’ on December 31 and January 1. It will be held at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

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Only the invited scientists with their exhibitions and the selected Zapatista youth with their questions will be given the floor at the festival.

There is no cost for registration but the Zapatistas cannot pay for travel, lodging, or food.

Boys and girls may attend as videntes [seers/viewers] and escuchas [ears/listeners], but they should be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The production, consumption and sale of drugs and alcohol is strictly forbidden.

That is all for now.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, March 2016.

From the diaries of the cat-dog:

Echoes of March 8i

March 8, 2016. Place: EZLN Headquarters. Document obtained from the diary of someone calling himself “supgaleano,” thanks to the Trojan malware called “finders keepers, losers weepers” version 6.9.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés and the present writer were here discussing the upcoming CompArtefestival and how the Zapatista communities are organizing to participate. While we were talking a compañera insurgenta came in and said simply: “there is going to be a soccer game. We women were challenged to a game.” I knew the motivation behind this, because it was not the first time that it had happened. Let me tell you that in this barracks, the insurgent women [insurgentas] outnumbered the insurgent men [insurgentes] two to one. To explain this difference in numbers, there are two different stories: the official version is that it is because the majority of the insurgentes are doing highly specialized work which only men can carry out with panache and grace; the real version is that there are in fact more compañeras than compañeros. Publishing the real version is of course prohibited, so only the official version has been distributed to the Tercios Compas.

Despite this reality, obvious from a simple glance, it occurred to one of the insurgentes to say as he finished breakfast: “since today is March 8, we men challenge the women to a game of soccer.” The commanding officer realized the error almost immediately, but the deed had been done. A female official from the insurgent health service responded: “it’s on.” The men crowded around the naïve challenger to scold him. Realizing the reason for the frustration that was spreading through the masculine ranks, the insurgente tried to clarify, “but with an equal number of players on each team.” “No way,” said the women, “you said that the men challenged the women, and so it is all of the insurgentes against all of the insurgentas.”

Clouds began forming in the sky and a strong wind foreshadowed misfortune.

After lunch (the menu was tamale shakes and coffee with chili pepper), an insurgenta came by to let us know that the game was about to start and asked if we were going. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés couldn’t go because he had to review the registration list for the festival. I abstained, intuiting that the environment would not be a propitious one for gender inequity. So neither of us went.

The horizon was already darkening when they returned. On earth and in the sky the storm is lady and mistress of everything.

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The insurgenta arrived to report in. I asked her how the game had gone and she responded, “we tied.” “How many to how many?” I asked. “I don’t remember” she said, “but we won a game and then we changed sides on the field and they won, so we tied: one each.” She said it with such self-confidence that she seemed like the president of the National Electoral Institute reporting the official results of any election.

Something smelled fishy to me, and so I went to see the commanding officer and asked about the results: “We won 7 to 3” he responded tersely. “But the Health insurgenta said that you tied because they won one game and you all the other?” I asked. The official smiled and clarified: “no sup, we only played one game; what happened was that in the first half they were winning 3 to 2, and in the second half, after switching sides on the field, we made 5 goals. The result: insurgentes – 7, insurgentas – 3.” Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés, spokesperson of the eezeeelen, in the name of all of the Zapatista men, women, children and elders exclaimed: “We men won!” Another insurgenta who was walking by admonished “what is this about ‘we men won,’ ha! you two didn’t even go.” “It doesn’t matter,” said the official spokesperson of the eezeeelen, “we men won.” The storm appeared to diminish and the wind and water settled down. But the horizon was far from clear.

Later that night, when as we toasted masculine supremacy with our coffee, Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés explained to me: “Look, what happened is that among the men, only two of them really know how to play soccer and both of them were on guard duty, so in the first half the insurgentes were down two players and the insurgentas, well, there’s already more of them. In the second half, those two guys finished their shift and they were incorporated into the game and well, the men won.”

I asked if the insurgentas knew how to play soccer: “they do,” he said, “but they also have one player who is young and runs up and down the field and everywhere; she is the team’s real strategist and tactician because when she gets tired of running she just yells, “ball, ball” and all of the insurgentas run and surround the guy who has the ball and they all kick and since there is only one ball, well, a whole lot of kicks get the compañero.”

We raise our cold cups of coffee and toast the new triumph of gender even in adverse conditions.

In the mountains, the wind and rain had already drunk of the nocturnal force. It was not yet morning when they subsided, with even more force if that is possible.

But (there’s always a “but”), the next day at breakfast one of the men, with ill intentions, asked how the soccer game had gone, “We tied,” an insurgenta rushed to say before the little machos managed to respond, and she turned to the other women around her: “Right compañeras?” “Yeessss!” they all shouted and, well, since they are the majority, well…anyway, the risks of democracy.

That is how the insurgentas converted a sports defeat into a triumph and won…with a tie. Final score: insurgentes – 1, insurgentas – 2.

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But the machos didn’t give up so quickly, they asked for a re-match. “Sure” said the compañeras “but next year.”

Desperate, the insurgentes looked to the person who best encapsulates the highest values of machismo-zapatismo, which is to say, me. They asked me when “men’s day” was.

What?” I asked them.

Yes,” they said, “if there is a woman’s day, then there must also be a man’s day.”

Ah” I agreed, understanding: “yes indeed there is one.” And I showed them what, with concise wisdom, one tiger had tweeted: “Men’s day” (when you celebrate the slavery of the woman to the work of rearing children) already exists. It is May 10.”

I think that they didn’t understand what you might call my sarcastic tone because they went away saying, “Ah, ok well then it’s still a little while off.”

-*-

Reading comprehension questions:

1.-Is the health insurgenta who subverted the semantics in FIFA’s rules a feminazi, a lesboterrorist, or someone who does away with the rules, destroying imposed [gender] roles and damaging masculine sensibility?

2.- Is the person who summarized with such grace what happened on this fateful March 8, 2016, in a Zapatista barracks: heteropatriarchal, Eurocentric, species-ist, ableist, classist and etceterist, one more victim of the system (well look at that, it sounds like the name of a music group), or does he not celebrate May 10 because he lacks the above listed attributes?

3.-As the women that we are, should we give a rematch to those damned men who, well, you know, you give them an inch and they want a mile?

Send your responses to the concierge of the Little School. Note: all not-so-nice comments will be returned to sender.ii

I testify under gender oath/protest:

SupGaleano

March 8, 2016

i March 8 is known around the world as International Women’s Day.

ii The original is “mentadas que no sean de menta.” Mentada” is like a telling-off or insult. Menta is mint. Literally this would be unminty insults.

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About CompArte: A Few Questions, A Few Answers. Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés. Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano

Zapatista Army for National Liberation.

Mexico

March 14, 2016

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Compas and non-compas:

We write to tell you a little about how plans are going for the activities in July, October, and December of 2016. We have received a few questions, so here are a few answers, but only regarding the festival “CompArte for Humanity.”

“How is the registration for the art festival looking?”

As of March 12, 2016, we had registered:

21 attendees from Mexico and 5 from other countries.

99 participants from Mexico and 30 from other countries (Chile, Argentina, Greece, Canada, United States, Spanish State, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala, Colombia, Costa Rica, Brazil, Peru, Cross-border or Without Borders, Uruguay, France, and the Sufi Community with Islamic music).

“What kind of activities or artistic works are registered so far?

According to those who have registered so far, there is: rap, poetry, visual arts, contemporary dance, painting, engraving, literature and stories, theatre, puppets, embroidery, iron work, silk-screening, photography, documentaries, cinema, sculpture, ceramics, short films, illustration, reggae, rock, graffiti, gastronomy, aerial dance, murals, music, music, and more music.

“What is this about “alternate sites” for the CompArte Festival?”

We are hoping that the compas of the Sixth in Mexico and in the world understand what you might call the subliminal message of the convocation and organize activities—in their own geographies and in accordance with their own calendars—either before, during, or after the festivals/gatherings convoked by the Zapatistas. That is, we hope that whether at local, regional, zone, or national levels, the Sixth organizes festivals and gatherings to give space for and echo to artistic activities. And of course, also to celebrate the National Indigenous Congress’ 20 years of rebellion and resistance, as well as a space where scientists will find attentive ears and critical thought.

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“Is it necessary to register to attend, without participating in, the ‘CompArte’ festival?”

Yes, just clarify that you are registering as an attendee.

“Is necessary to register to attend and participate in the “CompArte” festival?”

Yes, and we ask you to specify the form your participation will take.

“What is the email where one can register for the ‘CompArte for Humanity festival’?”

The email is comArte@ezln.org.mx

“Can you tell me again the dates and locations for the ‘CompArte for Humanity’ festival?”

No, those are already in the communiqué from February 29…. Okay, okay okay, here they are:

Dates: July 17-30, 2016

Location:

July 17-22 in the caracol of Oventik. Only Zapatista bases of support will participate in this part. Attendance is open for escuchas [ears/listeners] and videntes [seers/viewers], but requires registration.

July 23-30, 2016 in CIDECI, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas. All registered artists can participate. Attendance is open for listeners and viewers, but requires registration.

“Is there a registration fee, either for attendees or participants?

No.

“Are you (Zapatistas) going to pay for travel expenses, food, and lodging?”

No.

“According to Zapatismo, is gastronomy an art?”

Everyone can categorize their practice as they see fit. In the case of the difficult culinary arts, the insurgentas, as an echo of March 8, will contribute a menu that is…hmm… how can I put it… disconcerting: “tamale shakes and coffee with chili pepper” (note: for the tamale shake they don’t use a blender or any other machine, only the cooking fire and their “wisdom”). I already suffered… I mean, tasted it and it is… disconcerting.

“Can children participate?”

Yes, children can register to participate or attend. Except for the girls, because what a shame, the deadline has passed, it was March 8, so oh well…eh? But it’s that… ay! Okay, okay okay: the girls can register too. Note: all minors should be accompanied by a mother or father or tutor, tutora, or tutoroa.

“Is anything banned from these events?”

Yes, the production, consumption, or sale of drugs and alcohol is strictly forbidden. If you aren’t capable of making or enjoying art without taking something before or during, well your method is mistaken.

“There still isn’t a report back on the Little School?”

No. The questions sent by students are currently being reviewed. When something is ready, we’ll let those interested know.

That’s all for now.

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés.  Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico, March 2016.

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From the diaries of the cat-dog:

The time of the police (part one):

One: In Mexico, a Latin American country that suffers the global crisis like they all do, but which is fuelled by the solid triad of corruption-clumsiness-ignorance made into a government, the official in charge of public education, Aurelio Nuño Mayer, cannot hide his passion for the policing profession. Encouraged by his accomplices, Mr. Nuño believes that he can win the presidential candidacy for his party, the PRI, if he functions more as paid thug than as promoter of Mexican education. Fond of making threats, running his own repressive squads, and operating like any boss in the early stages of savage capitalism, Mr. Nuño finds special pleasure in converting the teaching profession into a destination not for better schools, training, and salaries, but for arbitrary injustices, beatings, and firings. Playing the role of prosecutor, judge, and jury; of Labour Minister (decreeing firings without severance); of Minister of the Interior (using the police and the army at his whim); of clumsy media spokesperson, dismal builder of “spontaneous” support, and twitterer in permanent slow motion, Mr. Nuño’s only resumé merit is having sheltered himself within that group of criminals who engage in criminal activity with total immunity. Despite his suits and ties, his heavily made up and photo-shopped media image, Mr. Nuño cannot hide what he has always been: a sad and mediocre policeman who gets pleasure from and money for repressing and humiliating others. Mr. Nuño has always longed to be a good policeman, but… when the den of thieves is insufficient to accommodate so many, when his secret protector falls, Mr. Nuño will also show he is a good runner… when fleeing becomes the order of the day.

Another one: In this country known in the realm of the world cups (although no further than the quarterfinals) as “Mexico,” in the so-called “highest place of study,” the Autonomous National University of Mexico (UNAM), Mr. Enrique Graue Wiechers has reached the highest bureaucratic position (and ladder to governmental post): the title of rector [like chancellor or dean]. In addition to the fact that his academic and professional career has been located within the bureaucracy of the academy and carefully guided by the Zedillo Ponce de León family’s psychiatrist, Mr. Graue did his graduate work in a North American university known for having invented the energy drink self-named “Gatorade,” which should give you an idea of how advanced he is in his specialty field of ophthalmology. A few days ago, Mr. Graue declared he was “outraged” because of the insufficient quantity of drugs police planted on one of the activists from the Che Guevara Auditorium (which the university authorities are futilely trying to call the Justo Sierra Auditorium). Mr. Graue was not enraged that the federal budgeting for higher education would not be sufficient to cover hundreds of thousands of young people; nor was he enraged by the mercantilist conditions that academic faculty and staff are subjected to; nor was he enraged because the UNAM has become a nest of undesirables, that is, of bureaucratic functionaries who don’t even know how to write the name of their overseer (that is, the rector); nor was he enraged by the lack of security endured by faculty, staff, and students on the UNAM campuses (assaults, rapes, and murders); and he was not enraged because an anti-democratic gangsterism had placed, in the highest post of the “highest place of study,” a mediocre bureaucrat.

No, Mr. Graue was enraged because the police didn’t do a good job of setting someone up to be framed. And this outrages Mr. Graue because all his life he has endeavoured to be a good police agent. With his indignant police discourse (seconded by people who don’t even know where the Justo Sierra Auditorium is, much less the Che Guevara), Mr. Graue gives a lecture: “the problem with higher education in Mexico lies with a vegetarian cafeteria, a screen printing workshop, and a bakery training space, among other things. These subversive activities are promoted by a group of anarchists, that is, dirty, ugly, and bad people who contrast sharply with the neatness and style of the university bureaucracy. They don’t even sell Gatorade, but rather water and juices of unknown origin. They are drug addicts (the high, medium, and low-ranking officials hide cocaine, crystal meth, ecstasy, and even crack and an occasional roach in their desk drawers —even within bureaucracy there are classes, my friend), they’re anarchic-anarchists, not part of the university community (various officials swallow hard) and that auditorium… the auditorium, what’s that auditorium… secretary quick, what’s the name of that auditorium that we want to liberate … ah yes, the Justo Sierra Auditorium in the School of Medicine… eh? …It’s not in the School of Medicine? … huh? … you’re recording? Give notice! … okay… in the School of Philosophy and Letters of Acatlán … no? … is it in Ciudad Universitaria? …Oh isn’t CU where the Pumas play?…So there are academic departments there too?… I’m only familiar with the rector’s suite… well anyway, wherever it is, it should be “liberated” by the police, and by police who know how to plant the evidence properly, not those scatter-brains that don’t even know how to place a bit of “spearmint” in a backpack. That’s why an elite group of my officials are going to start a degree program on how to place drugs in briefcases. Yes, yes I know that’s not the same, but we don’t carry backpacks, we carry briefcases. As I have said… what, no applause? … Turn on the recorder man! No, not that one, you’ll ruin my cabinet career ambitions. The other one! Yes, that one! Thank you, thank you to the authentic university community members who know that the university serves to domesticate, not to teach nor investigate! Thank you, thank you, thank you! How was that? Wha? I said turn that recorder off! No not the one with the cheering, the other one, the one that’s recording!

Mr. Graue is furious, he was just trying to be a good police agent.

I testify: woof-meow.

Cat-dog.

marcos

Copyleft 2016. Permission from the Good Government Council under conditions of “we’ll be back tomorrow to see if its ready, who knows, maybe it will be a new Council rotation by then, but in the meantime let me tell you the history of Zapatista autonomy. You already know it? Well then we should review it, as they say, until it truly sticks in your head. Did you bring your notebook? Write in “resistance and rebellion” or “rebellion and resistance,” it’s the same thing, because the order of the “r’s” doesn’t’ affect our autonomy. Haven’t you studied mathematics? Just songs? Well look, you need arts and sciences, there’s no way around it.”

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Zapatista Convocation For 2016 Activities

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ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO

February 29, 2016

Considering:

First: That the serious crisis that shakes the entire world, and that will only worsen, puts the survival of the planet and the entire population, including human beings, at risk.

Second: That politics from above is not only incapable of coming up with and constructing solutions, but is also among those directly responsible for the catastrophe already underway.

Third: That the sciences and the arts rescue the best of humanity.

Fourth: That the sciences and the arts now represent the only serious opportunity for the construction of a more just and rational world.

Fifth: That the originary peoples and those who live, resist, and struggle in the basements of the entire world possess, among other things, a fundamental wisdom: that of survival in adverse conditions.

Sixth: That Zapatismo continues betting, in life and death, on Humanity.

The Sixth Commission of the EZLN and the Zapatista bases of support:

CONVOKE ARTISTS, FORMAL AND NATURAL SCIENTISTS, COMPAÑER@S OF THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL SIXTH, THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS, AND WHATEVER HUMAN BEING WHO FEELS CALLED, TO THE FOLLOWING ACTIVITIES:

ONE: TO THE FESTIVAL AND SHARING EXCHANGE “CompARTE FOR HUMANITY” WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE July 17-30, 2016.

All those who practice ART can participate. For Zapatismo, an artist is anyone who considers their activity as art, independent of canons, art critics, museums, wikipedias, and any other “specialist” schemas that classify (that is, exclude) human activities.

The festival will have two major events:

The first will be at CIDECI, San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, México, and in any other venues and alternative calendars that are implemented according to the attendance confirmed. All persons, groups, and collectives who register and/or have been invited can participate in this event. The deadline for registration is up to and including June 15, 2016. The email where you can register for this activity is compArte@ezlnorg.mx.

The other will be at the Caracol of Oventik, Chiapas, Mexico. In this event only Zapatista bases of support will offer their artistic expressions. To this end, from the month of February through the month of June, 2016, in the Zapatista communities, regions, and zones, tens of thousands of men, women, children, and elderly Zapatistas will hold meetings and festivals to decide the forms of their artistic expression and select who will participate. The Zapatista part of the festival will begin July 17, 2016.

Invited and registered artists can offer their art itself or a reflection on it.

Entry is free (with previous registration).

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TWO: To the FESTIVAL IN HOMAGE TO THE NATIONAL INDIGENOUS CONGRESS for its 20 years of struggle and resistance, TO BE HELD OCTOBER 12, 2016, at CIDECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico. In the days before and after the event, the National Indigenous Congress will hold the activities it considers pertinent in the place or places it determines. Registration for observer-participants in the festival in honour of the CNI can be made at the following email: CNI20aniversario@ezln.org.mx.

THIRD: To the gathering “The Zapatistas and the conSCIENCES FOR HUMANITY” TO BE HELD from December 25, 2016 through January 4, 2017, at CICECI in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico.

In this gathering participation in the discussion will include ONLY invited formal and natural scientists, in addition to, and as students, Zapatista young people, bases of support, who will present their doubts, questions, and inquiries to the attending scientists. Although entry is free (with previous registration), only the invited scientists and the Zapatista young people who have been selected to attend by their communities, regions, and zones will be able to take the floor to speak. There will be no exam for the students; but for the scientists…well, good luck with the questions. To register to attend as escuchas (listeners), use the following email: conCIENCIAS@ezln.org.mx .

We will share more details in the coming days.

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast

Subcomandante Insurgente Moisés

Mexico, February 2016.

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The Arts, The Sciences, The Originary Peoples And The Basements Of The World

ZAPATISTA ARMY FOR NATIONAL LIBERATION

MEXICO.

February 2016

For: Juan Villoro Ruiz:

Brother:

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I’m happy to hear that the rest of your family bajo protesta[i] are well, and I appreciate your serving as messenger to send them our greetings and gifts (although I continue to think that ties, ashtrays, and vases would have been a better choice).

As I picked up my pen to continue this conversation with you, I remembered your text “Speech on the rain” (Almadía Press, 2013), written, I believe, for the stage, which I read imagining, clumsily I’m sure, the set and the gestures and movements of the actor delivering the monologue, feeling the intervention more than witnessing it. The beginning, for example, is a summary of my life: the laconic “I lost my papers!” of the first line would make for an encyclopaedia if I anchor it in the calendars and geographies of this continual lapse and relapse that I have been.

Because inevitably, after the opening line in an epistle, I lose my point (the “tonelada” (ton) as the compas say when referring to the “tone” of a song). That is, I depart from the concrete objective of the letter. It’s true that clarifying who will receive the letter could help, but often the recipient is a brotherly ear for whom the idea is to provoke not necessarily an answer, but always a thought, a doubt, a questioning, not of the kind that paralyzes but the kind that motivates more thoughts, doubts, questions, etceteras.

So perhaps, as for the librarian-lecturer who is the protagonist in your piece, words come that weren’t purposefully sought out, but rather were just there, lying in wait, pending a moment of inattention, a crack in the everyday in order to accost the paper, the screen, or that wrinkled sheet of “where-the-hell-did-I-leave-oh-here-it-is-when-did-i-write-this-nonsense?” The words then cease to be shield and barricade, lance and sword, and become, very much to our chagrin, a mirror in which one is revealed and kept awake at night [devela y desvela].

Of course, the librarian can turn to their aisles flanked with bookshelves, with their alphabetical and numerical order, their calendars and geographies drawing a map of literary treasures. S/he can look for the “o” in “oblivion” and see if there they can find what was lost. But here, in this continual moving around, the idea of a library, even a minimal and mobile one, is a chimera. Don’t think I didn’t look with unfounded hope upon the idea of electronic books (on a “USB” or “pen drive” or “external memory” one could load if not Borges’ library than at least a small one: Cervantes, Neruda, Tomás Segovia, Le Carré, Conan Doyle, Miguel Hernández, Shakespeare, Rulfo, Joyce, Malú Huacuja, Edurado Galeano, Alcira Élida Soust Scaffo, Alighieri, Eluard, León Portilla and the magician of words: García Lorca, among others). But no, like the librarian loses papers, I lose USB drives and who knows where they end up.

But believe me, we all have our embarrassing fantasies. In the USBs of electronic books there was usually a miscellaneous selection of authors, perhaps under the assumption that the drive would be lost and the authors would be together and, maybe, I don’t know, after all, literature is a genre of the impossible concretized in words, they could have a “sharing exchange” among themselves.

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Literature is a place where it rains,” you have the protagonist say, having fallen into misfortune and been obliged to strip down, without the clothing of his writing, to show himself for what he is: vulnerable.

So imagine a USB with these or other artists of the word. Imagine it begins to rain. Imagine what they talk about among themselves as they try to make sure a raindrop doesn’t ruin the binary code in which they live and thus begin the misunderstandings: 0-1-0 –stain-1-smudge-0-0-smudge-1 or whatever, and from there emerges the “how dare you!” and then the back and forth of “fuck you” and “I’ll beat the shit out of you,” “go to hell,” “vous êtes fou”, “va’ fa’ ta culo,” while Alcira hands out mimeographed copies of his “Poesia en Armas” [Poetry in Arms], something I think won’t do anything to calm the belligerent attitudes. In sum, all of the happy expectations ruined… because of the rain.

Of course, mutatis mutando,[ii] in your letters it is a cat who provides the meagre public for the speaker, and here it is a cat-dog with a little light who may be disconcerted by what I write, as if a cat-that-is-a-dog-that-is-a-cat-that-is-dog with a little light curled up in the shadows wasn’t disconcerting enough.

Do I digress? That seems most likely. After all, this impossible exchange on a USB that trusts that the rain will not ruin its colloquium is just a fantasy.

But if for the speaker the subject at hand is the rain, in this missive the subject is… the storm. Allow me then to take advantage of these lines to continue our exchange of reflections on the complex crisis that approaches, according to some, or that is already here, according to others.

Someone has said that our vision (captured now in the typography of the book “Critical Thought Versus the Capitalist Hydra: Contributions from the Sixth Commission of the EZLN”) is apocalyptic and closer to Robert Kirkman’s “The Walking Dead” (the comic and the television series it inspired or didn’t) than to Milton and Rose Friedman and their “Freedom to Choose” (the book as well as the economic policies that make it their alibi). They have said that we are mistaken because we are not sufficiently orthodox, or mistaken for being too orthodox. That nothing is going to happen, that upon arising each morning whatever one wants for breakfast will be available, that the neighbor’s dog will continue barking at the trash truck, that upon opening the tap what will come out is water and not the sound of the hereafter. That we are just big ugly birds of ill omen, that in any case don’t have media or academic impact (two things that are increasingly the same).

In sum, that the machine functions and that everyone is where they are supposed to be. The jolts are sporadic and they are only that, jolts, and the turbulence is passing and can be chalked up to the fact that somebody is resisting being where they should be. That it’s just like when a watch breaks because a gear or spring has come out of place, and the State is the “watchmaker” that gets rid of the broken piece and substitutes it with another.

The Apocalypse (everything included)? A universal flood? Humanity imprisoned on the apparently eternal or immortal train from Snowpiercer (the film by the South Korean Bong Joon-ho, titled “Rompenieves” on the “alternative production” DVD that was sent to me—and which I now can’t find) and reproducing within itself the same inhumanity that, wanting to solve global warming, induced the cooling of the planet?

Nothing could be further from our thinking. We Zapatistas don’t believe the world is going to end. We do think that the world we currently know is going to collapse, and that its implosion will give rise to a thousand human and natural tragedies.

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If this implosion is already in process or is yet to come is still something that has to be debated, argued, investigated, affirmed, or denied. But as far as we know, there is no one who dares to deny it. Everybody up above accepts that the machine is failing, and they trot out a thousand and one solutions, always within the same logic of the machine. But there are those who want to break with that logic and assert: humanity is possible without the machine.

In any case, given what we are, we are not so worried about the storm. After all, the originary peoples and the dispossessed of Mexico and of the world have lived through centuries worth of storm. If there is anything one learns below, it is how to live in adverse conditions.

Life then, and in a few cases death, is a continual struggle, a battle fought in every corner of the calendars and geographies. And I’m not talking here about global battles, but about personal ones.

As one can conclude from a careful read of our words that our message is one that goes beyond the storm and its pains.

It is our belief that the possibility of a better world (not a perfect nor a finished one, we’ll leave that for religious and political dogmas) is one without the machine, and this possibility rests on a tripod. More accurately, it rests on the interrelation between three columns that have endured and persevered, with their ups and downs, their small victories and great defeats, throughout the brief history of the world: the arts (with the exception of literature), the sciences, and the originary peoples along with the basements of humanity all over the world.

Perhaps you ask yourselves, in part out of curiosity and in (large) part out of direct interpellation, why I have put literature in an exclusive category. I will get to that a little further on.

You will note that, abandoning the classics, I haven’t included politics among the paths to salvation. Knowing us a bit (despite the fact that we now don’t appear even buried in the interior pages of the press, we do have our own abundant bibliography for anyone who has honest interest in knowing what Zapatismo is about), it is clear that we are referring to a classical politics, politics “from above.”

Listen, Juan, brother, I know that this is all heading toward not another letter but really a whole library, since that is what we’ve been talking about, so allow me to leave that point pending. Not because it is less important or transcendent in the storm, but because “I’m on a roll” as the compas say and if I follow whatever tangent that words tempt me with, there is a serious risk that this letter will never get to you, not because of the rain but because it will never be finished.

I have used “the arts” because it is the arts (and not politics) that delve most deeply into the human being and rescue its essence. It is as if the world continued to be the same, but that through art we could find the human possibility among so many gears, screws, and springs humourlessly grinding away. In contrast to politics, art doesn’t try to readjust or repair the machine. Rather, it does something more subversive and disconcerting: it shows the possibility of another world.

I put “the sciences” (and I refer here especially to the so-called “formal sciences” and “natural sciences,” considering that the social sciences have a few things yet to define—note that this doesn’t imply a demand or exigency) because they hold the possibility to reconstruct something atop the catastrophe that “operates” across the entire world territory. And I am not talking about “reconstruction” in the sense of taking what has fallen and putting it back together in the image or semblance of its version before the tragedy. I am talking about “remaking,” that is, “to make anew.” And scientific knowledge can reorient the desperation and imbibe it with its real meaning, that is, “cease to hope.” And anyone who ceases to hope can begin to act.

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Politics, the economy, and religion divide, parcel up, split apart. The sciences and the arts unite, connect, convert borders into ridiculous cartographic points.

But, it’s true, none are exempt from the fierce division of classes and they must choose: they either contribute to the maintenance and reproduction of the machine, or they contribute to the demonstration of its necessary abolition.

It is as if instead of re-labelling the machine, prettying or tuning it up, art and science put out, upon the superficial chrome surface of the system, a laconic and definitive sign: “EXPIRED,” “Time’s up,” “to continue watching, deposit another world.”

Imagine (your generation must have heard some John Lennon; mine is more about sones and huapangos), imagine that everything that gets spent on politics (for example, elections by way of the vote and elections by way of war, equally antidemocratic— “politics and the economy are the continuation of war by other means” Clausewitz would have said had he started from social science) went instead to the sciences and the arts. Imagine if instead of electoral and military campaigns there were laboratories, centres for research and dissemination, concerts, expositions, festivals, bookstores, libraries, theatres, cinemas, and countryside and cities where what reigned were the sciences and the arts rather than the machines.

Of course, we Zapatistas are convinced that this is only possible outside of the machine. And that the machine must be destroyed. Not readjusted, not shined up, not made “more human.” No, destroyed. If something of its remains are useful, it will be as a reminder not to repeat the nightmare, like a landmark one can see in the rear-view mirror as that path is left behind.

But we don’t doubt that there are those who think or believe that a readjustment is plausible without altering its functioning, by changing the engineer or assuring that the most luxurious train cars redistribute their riches so that something (not much though, no need to exaggerate) gets to the cars at the tail end. Of course, this is always accompanied by the emphasis that everyone is exactly where they belong. But candidness, brother, tends to be one disguise for perversity.

I have mentioned the originary peoples and the basements of the world, yes, as they are the ones with the greatest capacity to survive the storm and the only ones with the capacity to create “something else.” Someone will have to respond tomorrow to the question, “Is there anyone on Earth?” And here the word presents, not without provocative flirtation, another detour that, for the good of this missive, I will avoid with my renowned restraint.

I commented before, in a sarcastic and argumentative tone, on “the arts except for literature.” Well, that’s because I think (and this is an individual opinion) that literature must create ties between the three legs of the tripod, and make clear, happily or not, their interrelation. Literature must be, “The Witness.” But, most likely I am mistaken and it’s just that, in this hand of cards, I have uncovered the “Joker” in order to ask “Why so serious?”

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What do we want? The key to understanding the subterranean message of Zapatismo is in the small stories that, in the form of the little indigenous girl who calls herself “Zapatista Defence,” appear in the book “Critical Though Versus the Capitalist Hydra.”

Imagine what, because it is necessary and urgent, seems to be impossible: a woman who grows up without fear.

Of course every geography and calendar adds its own chains: indigenous, migrant, worker, orphan, displaced, illegal, disappeared, subtly or explicitly abused, raped, murdered, forever condemned to add burden and sentence to the condition of being a woman.

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What world would be birthed by a woman who could be born and grow up without fear of violence, harassment, persecution, disrespect, exploitation?

Wouldn’t that world be terrible and marvellous?

So if at some point they ask me, a ghostly shadow with an impertinent nose, to define Zapatismo’s objective, I would say: “to make a world where a woman can be born and grow up without fear.”

Note: I’m not saying that in this world those kinds of violence wouldn’t be lying in wait for her (most of all because the planet could end several times over and still not be rid of the worst of our condition of being men).

I’m also not saying that there aren’t women without fear already. Their rebellious determination has won them that victory in daily battle, and they know that battles can be won. But not the war. No, not until any woman in any corner of the world’s geographies and calendars can grow up without fear.

I am talking about a tendency. Could we affirm that the majority of women are born and grow up without fear? I don’t think so, and probably I’m mistaken, and I’m sure there are figures, statistics, and examples that show I’m mistaken.

But, within our limited horizon, we perceive fear, fear because one is small, fear because one is big, fear because one is slim, fear because one is fat, fear because one is pretty, fear because one is ugly, fear because one is pregnant, fear because one is not pregnant, fear because one is a little girl, fear because one is a young woman, fear because one is a mature woman, fear because one is an elderly woman.

Is it worth it to put effort into that step, into life and death in such a chimera?

We Zapatistas say yes, it is worth it.

And to that task we give our lives, which may be little, but it is all we have.

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Yes, you are right that there will be no lack of those who call us “naïve” (in the best of cases, because in all languages there are cruder synonyms). I like this word processor, with its free and open source software, because every time I want to write “case” or “cases” the spellcheck proposes “chaos.” I think the free software knows more about devastating storms than I do.

In sum, what was I saying? Oh! The lost words, their shipwreck in papers or bites, the originary peoples and the basements of humanity converted in Noah’s Ark, the sciences and the arts as life-saving islands, a little girl without fear as compass and port…

Eh? Yes, I agree with you that the result of all of this has more chaos than case, but this is only a letter that will be, as all letters should be, converted into a paper airplane with the intimidating insignia of the “Zapatista Air Force” drawn on one side, and there it goes looking for its destination. Who knows where you are Juan, brother bajo protesta.[iii] Like grandmothers used to say (I don’t know if they still do), “calm down son,” and get into a jacket or an embrace because it’s cold and “the topic at hand, you know, is the rain.”

From the mountains of the Mexican Southeast.

Subcomandante Insurgente Galeano.

Mexico

February 2016

[i] “Bajo protesta” can mean both reluctance/protest and “under oath.”

[ii] The Spanish uses “mutandis mutando,” a riff on the Latin Mutatis mutandis (meaning “the necessary changes having been made” or “once the necessary changes have been made”) using the verb “mutar,” to mutate.

[iii] Here again “bajo protesta” can mean both reluctance/protest and “under oath.”

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